Give to Music

Department of Music
Phone: (509) 963-1216
Fax: (509) 963-1239

The CWU orchestra posing in front of the historic Ellensburg train station at sunset.Orchestras Program at CWU

The CWU Orchestra program is recognized as the preeminent collegiate orchestra program in the Northwest, performing as many as ten concerts per year including choral/orchestral collaborations, a concerto competition, Halloween concert, opera productions and guest artist concerts. The ensemble consistently receives invitations to perform at State Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) and Northwest Regional NAfME conferences. In February 2018, they have been invited to perform at the 2018 Capital Orchestra Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. They will also present Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Recent performances include Ravel’s La Valse as part of an invited performance for the State MENC Conference, and fully staged performances of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" at Icicle Creek’s Snowy Owl Theater and Strauss' "Die Fledermaus" at the Capitol Theater in Yakima.

With an emphasis on a wide range of repertoire, the 80-member ensemble has premiered many pieces while presenting standard masterworks. Recent programs have included: Brahms Symphony No. 4, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, Debussy La Mer, Shostakovich Symphony No. 10, Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra, Respighi Pines of Rome, Sibelius Symphony No. 5, Beethoven Symphony No. 9, John Adams Lollapalooza, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, Dvorák Cello Concerto, Ravel La Valse, Paulus Erotic Spirits, Mahler Symphony No. 2, Brahms Symphony No. 2, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, and Bernstein Symphonic Dances. In 2010, the orchestra performed premieres of Elaine Ross and Maria Newman in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Washington State. In 2011, the orchestra was invited to celebrate Alan Hovhaness’ 100th birthday in a performance of his Magnificat at Benaroya Hall.

The Chamber Orchestra presents music designed for a more intense and intimate setting. These programs consist of music from the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern periods, including music from living composers such as: Aaron Jay Kernis Musica Celestis, Milhaud La Creation du Monde, Stravinsky Apollon Musagete, Schoenberg’s arrangement of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, John Adams Shaker Loops, Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphony No. 4, and Mozart Symphony No. 41. The Chamber Orchestra has also collaborated with the Chamber Choir on Mozart's "Requiem" and a full-length performance of Handel's "Messiah".

CWU has partnered with KCTS 9 and KYVE 47 to provide televised programming of the Symphony Orchestra concerts. “CWU On Stage” is hosted by CWU Director of Orchestras, Dr. Nikolas Caoile. Click here to see archives of these broadcasts.

If you wish to be considered for the Symphony Orchestra, you will need to audition. Auditions are required for acceptance into all of the large instrumental ensembles. A faculty committee conducts these auditions near the beginning of each quarter.


Dr. Nikolas Caoile
Director of Orchestras

Visit us on Facebook