The UCA Music Department’s String Division is the premier program within the state and outstanding within the region, offering nationally recognized faculty, innovatively structured ensembles, and unique opportunities for students tailored to their individual growth and achievement.  Our students participate in weekly lessons, regular performance classes, and master classes with international caliber artists, and our string faculty works as a team to coach our string quartet-based chamber music program. Students play a leadership role in the UCA Chamber Orchestra, and have the invaluable experience of sitting side-by-side with their teacher or other top professional players as members of the Conway Symphony Orchestra.  In overseeing the professional development of our students, it is the mission of the String Division to educate the next generation of performers and teachers in the mid-South and beyond.



Linda Hsu (Violin)

Katherine Reynolds* (Viola)

Tatiana Kotcherguina (Viola)

Tiezheng Shen (Viola)

Stephen Feldman (Cello)

Sean O’Hara (Bass)

Smokey Emerson (Guitar)

Israel Getzov (Orchestra)

*Principal, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra




Private Instruction

In addition to being devoted and accomplished teachers, UCA’s string faculty, trained at some of the finest institutions in the country, remain active performers on their instruments.  Students receive ample and individualized attention from this faculty, enjoying a curriculum tailored to their needs.  Performance skills are refined with participation in regular studio classes and recitals. Each year students get to work with artists of international reputation either in Master Classes or as part of Artistic Residencies at the University.  Recent artists visiting campus and working with students include violinists Alexander Markov and Katie Lansdale, Cellist Steven Doane, Baroque cellist Pablo Mahave-Veglia, the St. Lawrence, Brentano and American String Quartets, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.


Chamber Music and Small Ensembles

UCA’s string chamber music program is centered on the string quartet repertoire, and students meet weekly towards a recital performance each semester.  All of the full-time string faculty are involved with each group, work as a team so that students get the broadest range of perspectives and the most individualized attention.

Students also participate in the university’s Guitar Ensemble and Cello Ensemble.



Conway Symphony Orchestra— Based at UCA, The Conway Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble where professional musicians (including many UCA faculty) perform side-by-side with advanced UCA student musicians.  Musicians are selected by audition and recommendation thru their studio professors.  CSO performs up to six full orchestral concerts per season, and has additional opportunities for student musicians to participate in community outreach and education permeances. The CSO’s home venue is the lavish and acoustically rewarding Reynolds Hall, located on campus.

UCA Chamber Orchestra— The University’s second orchestral ensemble provides students the opportunity to be leaders in performing a different range of repertoire.  In addition to performing standard chamber orchestra repertoire, this group serves as the pit orchestra for staged opera productions, oratorios, composition projects, and has recorded original soundtracks for full-length movies produced by the UCA film department.  Members are selected by audition & faculty recommendation, and meet periodically on a project basis throughout the academic year.


International Ties

UCA’s string program has developed a very fruitful relationship with the University’s “sister” school in Shanghai, China, East China Normal University.  Each year a number of students are involved in an exchange program between the two universities, and a number of UCA students and faculty have traveled to China over summers for concerts and festivals.  International students from other countries also have a strong presence within the department, and the school enjoys positive relationships with faculty members and institutions in Turkey, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Taiwan, among others.


Professional Opportunities

Many of our string students perform as regular contracted members or substitutes with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Smith Symphony, and the South Arkansas Symphony. UCA houses a Community School of Music, and many students are active teachers within this program.





Audition dates are announced in the fall semester. Please contact the music office at (501) 450-5750 or to get more information. Recordings can be accepted in lieu of live auditions. If you wish to apply without a live audition, please include links to your recording in your Department of Music application

Prospective students take a single audition to determine both their acceptance into the program and eligibility for departmental scholarships.  Scholarship awards are based on ability and need, and can be added to academic scholarships from the university up to the state limit on aid.  A student need not be a music major to receive a music scholarship.

We strongly encourage all applicants to investigate additional scholarship opportunities, including UCA academic scholarships, the Arkansas Challenge (Lottery) Scholarship, and UCA Foundation scholarships.

Please Note: Acceptance to the program and/or an offer of a music scholarship does not automatically enable a student to declare the major of Music Performance.  String students are officially admitted to pursue a degree in music performance after successfully completing a performance jury at the end of their freshman year.


Undergraduate Audition Requirements:

•A Scale of your choice in three octaves

•Two or three contrasting works or movements.  (Piano accompaniment is not required)

•Sight Reading


Graduate Assistantships/Graduate Audition Requirements

Graduate Assistantships are available for all instruments.  These positions usually include a full tuition waiver, plus an additional yearly stipend.  In order to apply the graduate program or for a graduate assistantship, a live audition is not required.  To apply, send a cover letter, resume, recording (if not playing a live audition), and at least two recommendation letters to the address listed above.  The recording should be from the student’s senior recital or of equivalent repertoire.  For a live audition towards graduate study, students should perform portions of two to three contrasting pieces, and they should expect to play scales and perform sight reading.

For additional information on the UCA graduate school application process, visit the Graduate School admissions webpage.


International Applicants

Visit UCA’s International Programs Office for more information regarding the international admissions, TOFEL requirements, and exchange programs.   UCA also has an excellent Intensive English Program.