WWU State Orchestra Festival

Middle Schools - Friday, March 15, 2019
High Schools - Saturday, March 16, 2019

Performing Arts Center, Western Washington University

American String Teachers Association, Washington Chapter

About the Festival

Western Washington University Department of Music and The American String Teachers Association Washington State Chapter (W-ASTA) proudly offer a unique opportunity to have all aspects of your orchestra Program assessed by outstanding adjudicators, with an emphasis on providing a high quality educational experience through expert comments and clinics for every ensemble.

Attending a state-level festival gives orchestra  members an opportunity to listen to outstanding symphonic and string ensembles from throughout the region, including a performance from the Western Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of recently appointed Director of Orchestral Studies, Ryan Dudenbostel.

The State High School Orchestra Festival is open to W-ASTA and non-W-ASTA directors, as well as “non-school” ensembles such as youth symphonies and ensembles from private studios. Orchestras outside Washington State are also welcome.

Questions? Email orchestra.festival@wwu.edu.


  • Division for Small Ensembles – Trios, Quartets, Quintets, Octets
  • Division for Chamber Orchestras
  • Two Divisions for Large Ensembles: String Orchestra & Full Orchestra
  • Plus an Eclectic Strings Division– fiddle, pit orchestra, folk, jazz, rock - any and all non-classical styles
  • Two tracks – Competitive or Non-competitive
  • High School Festival only: Separate classes within Competitive Divisions for Large (>1200) or Small (<1200) schools and Freshman-only Ensembles
  • Open to W-ASTA and non-W-ASTA directors, as well as “non-public school” ensembles such as youth symphonies and ensembles from private studios
  • Open to both Washington and non-Washington Schools
  • All Divisions will receive assessments from two outstanding adjudicators as well as an onstage clinic
  • All entries — Competitive or Non-Competitive — will receive a Trophy designated with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award based on their performance


  • Division I - String Orchestra Division: String orchestras with personnel greater than sixteen
  • Division II - Full Orchestra Division: Ensembles greater than sixteen that perform literature with winds/percussion
  • Division III - Chamber Orchestra Division: Conducted or non-conducted: Nine to twenty-two string players (HS); Eight to twenty-two string players (MS); Multiple players per part
  • Division IV - Eclectic Ensembles Division: Defined as any ensemble not performing classical music. Improvisation is encouraged!
  • Division V - Chamber Ensembles Division: Three to nine players (may include piano and winds) performing chamber Music literature – one player per part. Schools must register in at least one other Division (I-IV) in addition to Division V

Each Division will have both Competitive and Non-Competitive tracks with the prerequisite of three entries, minimum, to constitute a Competitive Division. Private/select organizations (e.g. youth symphonies and select ensembles from multiple schools) are encouraged to participate, but may only enter the Non-Competitive track.

High School Festival only: Each Competitive Division will have both Large School (>1200) and Small School (<1200) Classes, with separate rankings for each Class; Freshman-only Ensembles will also receive separate rankings within all except the Chamber Ensembles Division.

All entries — Competitive or Non-Competitive — will receive a Trophy designated with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award based on their performance.

Friday, March 15 Social Event

W-ASTA/WWU State Orchestra Festival Friday Night Social: 7:30–9:00 March 15, Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.  Open to all participants – Middle and High School. Cost: $5 per student. An all-ages event with a concert featuring a professional string ensemble and refreshments. Past events have featured performances by the renowned Pearl Django Jazz Ensemble, Seattle Rock Orchestra, and Roma violinist Lache Cercel, followed by an ice cream feed with a toppings bar and punch.  This is a great way to meet participants from other schools, hear great music, and celebrate multiple styles of string playing.  We hope you will join us!


2019 Festival registration is now live, and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Follow the links below to register. If you have questions, please email us at orchestra.festival@wwu.edu.

Middle School Festival - March 15, 2019

High School Festival - March 16, 2019

Visiting information (directions, parking, on-campus dining and campus map)