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" and Strauss' "Die Fledermaus" at the Capitol Theater in Yakima.
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, Higdon 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. 1, Brahms Symphony No. 2, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, and Bernstein Symphonic Dances. In Fall 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 Winter 2011, the orchestra was invited to celebrate Alan Hovhaness’ 100th birthday in a performance of his Magnificat at Benaroya Hall.
Recently, the orchestra went on a Northwest tour, performing at various high schools on their way to Portland, OR where they concluded their tour at the 2014 NAfME All-Northwest Conference. In Fall 2013, the orchestra performed the Northwest premiere of Martin Kennedy's Piano Concerto, featured professor Tim Betts on Bartók's Viola Concerto, and collaborated with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra on Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring. That December, the orchestra was honored to perform at the Paramount Theater in Seattle with Jackie Evancho, 2013 winner of "America's Got Talent". In 2015, Yakima Symphony Orchestra will combine forces again with the CWU Symphony Orchestra to perform Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection".
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 Musate, 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". They also serve as the opera orchestra for full productions such as Copland's "The Tenderland" and Strauss' "Die Fledermaus".
Dr. Nikolas Caoile, Director of Orchestras
Denise Dillenbeck, Artist in Residence