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. Recent performances include Carmina Burana at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Pictures at an Exhibition as part of an invited performance for the State MENC Conference, and fully staged performances of Copland’s The Tender Land.
With an emphasis on a wide range of repertoire, the 90-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 Concerto for Orchestra, Respighi Pines of Rome, Sibelius Symphony No. 5, Beethoven Symphony No. 9, John Adams Lollapalooza, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, Dvorak Cello Concerto, Ravel La Valse, Stephen Paulus Erotic Spirits, Mahler Symphony No. 1, and Brahms Symphony No. 2.
The Chamber Orchestra presents music designed for a more intense and intimate setting. These programs consist of music from the classical period (Mozart, Mendelssohn) and also music from living composers including: Aaron Jay Kernis Musica Celestis, Milhaud La Creation du Monde, Stravinsky Apollon Musate, Schoenberg’s arrangement of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and John Adams Shaker Loops, and Arvo Part Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.
The Chamber Orchestra also serves as the orchestra for the full opera productions. In Fall 2010, the orchestras performed premieres of Elaine Ross and Maria Newman in celebration of the 100th year of Women’s Suffrage in Washington State. In the Winter 2011, the orchestra has been invited to celebrate Alan Hovhaness’ 100th birthday in a performance of his Magnificat at the Benaroya Hall.