Groninger Student Orchestra MIRA started in 1964 as a musical branch of the former student association Vera. The original chamber orchestra continued as an independent association in 1969 and over the years developed into a fully-fledged symphony orchestra. The orchestra consists of enthusiastic students with a passion for music. In addition to their studies at the University of Groningen, Hanze University and the Prince Claus Conservatoire, they rehearse every week on Thursday evenings.
MIRA gives a concert twice a year in De Oosterpoort in Groningen. There are also a few concerts elsewhere in the north. The programme usually consists of an overture, a solo work performed with a talented young soloist, and a symphony. The repertoire is mainly late-romantic, but high-romantic and twentieth-century music is also regularly performed. In recent years Mira has performed works by Mozart, Barber, Beethoven, Dvorak, Strauss, Brahms, Shostakovich and Berlioz, among others.
In the early years there were always changing conductors in front of the orchestra. Gerard Wiarda, now honorary conductor, led Mira from 1974 to 2004. From 2005 to December 2009 MIRA played under Arnaud Oosterbaan and from September 2010 to December 2013 under Peter Stam.
A trip abroad is organised every two years. Sometimes this was as part of an exchange with another orchestra. For example, in June 2006 the Orchestra of the University of Bern was a guest at MIRA in Groningen. In November 2006 MIRA went on tour to Switzerland where concerts were given in Mariastein, Zurich and of course in Bern. In March 2008 MIRA visited the sunny Spanish town of Murcia, where the orchestra played successfully at an international festival for youth and student orchestras. In February 2010 MIRA gave two special concerts in beautiful concert halls in Stockholm and Uppsala in Sweden. In September 2011 we gave a number of concerts in Slovenia and Italy.
In addition to the regular concerts, the orchestra, or part of it, is often hired to accompany choirs or other musical projects. Also within the orchestra there are all kinds of ensembles that play chamber music for their own sake or as extra income.
On special occasions at the University, such as the awarding of honorary doctorates, MIRA collaborates with the orchestra of Bragi and the Student Choir Gica. During the RuG lustrum in 2009, these three associations performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana together during the University's gala concert.
After the departure of conductor Peter Stam, MIRA worked with temporary conductors. In the June season of 2014 Mira was conducted by the internationally acclaimed Frans-Aert Burghgraef. With him MIRA went on tour to Cologne and Bonn. In the December season Mira was conducted by Sander Teepen. The December concert in De Oosterpoort, in collaboration with the famous Dutch pianist Daniël Wayenberg, was a great success. In June 2015 MIRA was again conducted by Frans-Aert Burghgraef. During those concerts he was accompanied by up-and-coming talent Eva van Haaften. MIRA also went on tour to the French Belfry.