Western Symphony Orchestra

Western Symphony Orchestra

Strings · Winds · Brass · Percussion

Performing orchestral masterworks from the Baroque to the present day, the Western Symphony Orchestra presents five to six programs a year, including traditional concerts, educational programs, and an annual concerto competition concert featuring student soloists.

Committed to advancing the discourse on orchestral music, the Orchestra has given world, American, and Pacific Northwest premieres of works by William Bolcom, Kaija Saariaho, Mason Bates, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, and Roger Briggs. The Orchestra frequently collaborates with faculty and guest artists, along with the Western Choirs and Opera Studio.

Recent highlights include a performance of Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony at the National Association for Music Education All-Northwest Regional Conference; a collaborative residency with Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng; a memorized, choreographed, and costumed production of Peter and the Wolf; and the world premiere of Roger Briggs’ Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra with the acclaimed Friction Quartet.

Western String Sinfonia

Strings Only

The Western String Sinfonia gives quarterly concerts of classic and contemporary works for string orchestra, with a focus on developing fundamental skills and ensemble technique. The String Sinfonia regularly joins forces with the Western Symphony Orchestra in the performance of large-scale orchestral works.

Membership in the Western Orchestras is by audition, and is open to the entire Western campus community. For more information about the Orchestral Program at Western, please contact Dr. Ryan Dudenbostel, Director of Orchestral Studies.

The WWU Symphony Orchestra on stage wearing black

2020 WWU Symphony Orchestra Vienna-Prague Tour

In June of 2020, 47 members of the WWU Symphony Orchestra will embark on a six-day, eight-night performance tour of the musical capitals of Prague and Vienna. On their concert programs, the WWU Symphony will be giving the world-premiere of Gideon Klein's (1919-1945) Chamber Symphony.

A Jewish composer of Czech heritage, Klein was among hundreds of prominent artists imprisoned at Terezín—a sort of model camp used by the Nazis to deceive the world about their treatment of Jews and other prisoners—before being murdered at the Fürstengrube concentration camp shortly after his 25th birthday.

Among Klein's Terezín compositions is a three-movement Piano Sonata, which will be presented for the first time in a new adaptation for orchestra on this tour. This represents a significant contribution to the discourse on Holocaust-era music by Western students. 

Following concerts in Prague and Vienna, the tour will culminate in a festival performance at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, one of the world's most hallowed concert halls, in celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday. 

For a young musician to perform on a stage shared by such luminaries as Brahms, Bruckner, and Mahler is the opportunity of a lifetime. 

2019-2020 Concert Dates and Repertoire

Western Symphony Orchestra

Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Sarah Kirkland Snyder: Something for the Dark
  • Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G Major (Heather Dudenbostel, soprano)

Western String Sinfonia

Monday, December 2, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: Concerto Grosso
  • Jessie Montgomery: Strum
  • Edvard Grieg: Suite from Holberg’s Time

Western Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto di Aranjuez (David Feingold, guitar)
  • Manuel de Falla: Three Songs from El amor Brujo (Melissa Plagemann, mezzo-soprano)
  • Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Sketches of Spain (Kevin Woods, trumpet)

Western String Sinfonia and Symphony Orchestra

Monday, March 9, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Heitor Villa-Lobos: O Polichinelo
  • J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
  • Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras No. 9
  • P.I. Tchaikovsky: Francesca di Rimini

Western Symphony Orchestra Family Concert

Friday, May 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, choreographed by Pam Kuntz

Western String Sinfonia

Monday, June 1, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Philip Glass: Company
  • George Whitfield Chadwick: Serenade in F Major

Western Symphony Orchestra

Friday, June 5, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Gideon Klein: Chamber Symphony (World Premiere)
  • Winners of the annual WWU Concerto Competition
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93


  • Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067 (Lisa McCarthy, flute)
  • Bartó​k: Rumanian Dances
  • Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings (Eric Rieger, tenor - Gustavo Camacho, horn)
  • Elgar: Serenade in E minor, Op. 20
  • Gershwin: An American in Paris
  • Greenstein: Reservoir (West Coast Premiere)
  • Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major (Cori Holquinn, cello)
  • Jager: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (David Mills and Asa Morris, percussion)
  • Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer (Elizabeth Feeney, mezzo-soprano)
  • Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea
  • Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546
  • Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K. 626
  • Purcell: Suite from The Fairy Queen, Z. 629
  • Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major (Jacinda Davis, piano)
  • Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3
  • Rutter: Suite for Strings
  • Shaw: Entr’acte
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54
  • Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947 Version)
  • Tchaikovsky: Waltz and Grand Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
  • Walker: Lyric for Strings


  • Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 - The Age of Anxiety (Judith Widrig, piano)
  • Bolcom: Symphony No. 2 (“Oracles”) - WORLD PREMIERE
  • ​Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56
  • Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
  • ​Debussy: La mer
  • Duparc: Three Songs (Jacob Bernado, tenor)
  • Edwards/Stone: 1776
  • ​Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F (Sarah Potocki, piano)
  • Haydn: Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major (“Drumroll”)
  • Márquez: Danzón No. 2
  • Mazzoli: Holy Roller
  • Ravel: Ma mère l’​Oye Suite
  • Stamitz: Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E-flat Major (Wayra Quinchiguango, clarinet)


  • Adams: Century Rolls (Gloria Cheng, piano)
  • Bartók: Viola Concerto, op. posth. (Antti Niemistö, viola)
  • Corigliano: Fern Hill (with the WWU Concert Choir)
  • Duddell: Ruby (Patrick Roulet, percussion)
  • Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor (“From the New World”)
  • Hindemith: Mathis der Maler Symphony
  • Janáček: Suite for Strings
  • ​Kernis: Musica Celestis
  • Navarro: Clarinet Concerto No. 2 (Fabian Nieto, clarinet)
  • Porter: Kiss Me, Kate
  • Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 54 (Nicholas Swanson, piano)
  • Stravinsky: The Firebird (1919 Suite)
  • Tchaikovsky: Suite from The Nutcracker
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons


  • Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major
  • Bartók: Dance Suite
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major
  • Berlioz: Rakoczy March
  • Briggs: Concerto for String Quartet (World-Premiere, featuring the Friction Quartet)
  • Gottschalk: The Banjo
  • Körvitz: Kreegi Vihik (featuring the combined WWU Choirs)
  • Mahler: Selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Hannah Petersen, mezzo-soprano)
  • Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques (Judith Widrig, piano)
  • Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (Narrated by Rosemary Vohs and Choreographed by Pam Kuntz)
  • Ravel: Piano Concerto in G (Ben Seavello, piano)
  • Saariaho: Lumiére et pesanteur
  • Shostakovich: Violin Concerto in A minor (Ian Aegerter, violin)
  • Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E minor
  • Still: Afro-American Symphony
  • ​Stucky: The Star and the Roses
  • Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy


  • Bates: Music from Underground Spaces
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
  • Bernstein: Chichester Psalms (WWU Concert Choir)
  • Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
  • Briggs: For the Future (World-Premiere, with the WWU Concert Choir)
  • Copland: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo
  • Debussy: Nocturnes (with the WWU Advanced Women’s Chorale)
  • ​Dvořák: The Noon Witch
  • Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Gershwin: Cuban Overture
  • Grieg: In the Hall of the Mountain King
  • Mozart: Symphony no. 41 (“Jupiter”)
  • Prokofiev: Piano Concerto no. 3 (Milica Jelača Jovanović, piano)
  • Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 4 (Gabija Vaičekonis, piano)
  • Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1 (John Friesen, cello)
  • Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre
  • Séjourné: Vibraphone Concerto (George Allison, vibraphone)
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
  • Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1 (Gustavo Camacho, horn)
  • Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite
  • Tchaikovsky: Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin (Yuliya Varavina, soprano)

Looking for more information?

If you have any questions, we're happy to find you an answer. Call the Music Department Office 360-650-3130, or view the directory of faculty and staff.