Whether it is ensemble music, a little Shakespeare on the boards or student a cappella performances, UC Davis abounds with the performing arts. We have in-residence music and dance professionals as well as myriad student efforts that keep the campus enlightened and entertained.
The Mondavi Center presents nearly 200 performances each year by both professional and student artists in music, dance, theatre and spoken word.
The department presents more than 100 events each year by a range of ensembles, as well as an annual artist-in-residence program and a weekly free concert series.
- The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1959, is a major campus/community arts offering, regularly serving as the pit orchestra for UC Davis Main Stage productions, appearing at major campus events and serving as principal resident ensemble at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
- University Chorus: This campus/community ensemble presents well-known choral masterworks along with equally interesting but perhaps lesser-known compositions that demand high standards of artistic expression and technical achievement.
- Empyrean Ensemble: A professional ensemble-in-residence at UC Davis, Empyrean features eclectic programs with high artistry.
- The University Concert Band: A fixture at UC Davis for more than 50 years, this band performs classic works from an extensive band and wind ensemble repertoire as well as transcriptions of symphonic pieces and exciting new works.
- The UC Davis Jazz Band and Jazz Improvisation, directed by jazz artist and composer Delbert Bump, performs in a large group as a traditional big band as well as a smaller, free-form improv combo.
- Ensemble performances ranging from the acclaimed Baroque Ensemble and Early Music Ensemble to student collaborations such as the Gamelan Ensemble and Samba School keep music flowing at UC Davis.
Highlighted by the Granada Artist-in-Residence productions created by renowned visiting directors, playwrights, choreographers or filmmakers, the department season includes dance, drama and musical productions.
Our exchange program with Globe Education at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London gives faculty and students access to extensive educational resources dedicated to the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance.
UC Davis independent, student-run theater company offers new takes on old standards as well as takes on challenging contemporary themes. Look for notices on the Theatre and Dance site and in Dateline UC Davis, our faculty-staff newspaper.
Davis Shakespeare Ensemble
This new ensemble performs at UC Davis but is not formally affiliated with the campus. Most of the founders have worked with the UC Davis Theatre and Dance department. Keep up with news of performances through Dateline.
Musicians are invited to pull out their instruments and join the Arboretum Folk Music Jam Sessions during the noon hour on the Wyatt Deck off Old Davis Road. The UC Davis Arboretum also hosts guided tours, theatre and occasional other cultural events. Check the arboretum website for dates.
A cappella groups
You can find student a cappella groups performing at a wide variety of events around the city of Davis, including the Farmer’s Market, Picnic Day and other benefit performances. Check out the co-ed Lounge Lizards and The Liquid Hotplates, and the all-female The Spokes.
The student band has been an important part of campus spirit and tradition since its establishment in 1929, supporting the UC Davis campus and athletic teams.
Check the Entertainment Council’s Facebook page to learn about bands and entertainers from across the U.S. coming to perform before UC Davis students.
Find singing practices and performance dates for the popular UC Davis Gospel Choir on its Facebook page.