I've recently completed my 27th year at Princeton. I came here in 1977 to conduct the student orchestra, but from that first year I was involved in performing student (and later faculty) compositions, from small ensembles to full operas. Since then the entire performance "wing" has grown to a once-unimaginable size and scope, especially with the addition of the certificate Program in Music Performance for undergraduates. The PU Orchestra has grown too, from a group barely able to field a Mozart symphony to one that performs Mahler symphonies and Le sacre du printemps (which we've done twice since the early 90's).
All this, naturally, has been beneficial to student composers. There's now a core of dedicated and skillful young players who can perform quite challenging music. Although most chamber music works by graduate composers are performed by the pros we bring in for the Composers' Ensemble (which I often conduct), the Orchestra has performed (and even toured with) numerous works by graduate student composers whom the composition faculty feel are ready to write for orchestra. The Orchestra also does occasional readings and recordings of shorter works as well.
Our repertory includes just about anything in the standard rep, and some things maybe a little outside of what might be considered standard by young orchestras (Also sprach Zarathustra, Daphnis et ChloŽ). Faculty composers heard on PUO concerts include Steve Mackey, Peter Westergaard, and in December 2004, Dan Trueman. Our programs of the past twelve years are on our website (www.princeton.edu/~puo).
I also enjoy working as an occasional conducting coach for composers, especially to help them prepare for leading performances of their own music.