In addition to degree pathways in Instrumental Performance and Orchestral Conducting, the School of Music supports a range of auditioned and non-auditioned ensemble orchestras—three in all—open to majors and non-majors from throughout the university.
Orchestral activities at the University of Washington encompass the academic degree programs in orchestral conducting and ensemble performance opportunities offered through the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Campus Philharmonia.
The highly selective master and doctoral degree programs in orchestral conducting offer personal coaching by highly qualified faculty mentors and unique opportunities to study in close proximity to professional symphony conductors. An ongoing partnership between the UW School of Music and Seattle Symphony Orchestra benefits all conducting students, who receive guidance and instruction from SSO Music Director Ludovic Morlot (Head of Orchestral Conducting and Affiliate Professor of Music at the UW) in addition to their ongoing work with Director of Orchestral Activities David Alexander Rahbee.
Students in the program meet weekly with Dr. Rahbee and with Maestro Morlot as his schedule allows. Orchestral conducting students also have access to all Seattle Symphony rehearsals led by Maestro Morlot. Areas of focus for applied lessons include aspects of score study, analysis, technique, preparation, styles, performance practice, score reading, and repertoire.
Students in the program engage in weekly podium time and quarterly performances with the Campus Philharmonia as well as concert appearances and/or master classes with the UW Symphony Orchestra. Conducting opportunities with the UW Modern Ensemble are available at the discretion of faculty, as are other opportunities throughout the community.
The UW Symphony Orchestra performs six or more concerts per year, working with well-known soloists, collaborating with orchestral conducting director Ludovic Morlot and with local professional organizations such as the Seattle Symphony and Pacific MusicWorks, and staging yearly collaborations with the UW Choirs. Sometimes the orchestra is split into smaller groups that perform as the UW Chamber Orchestra.
The UW Campus Philharmonia is open to all members of the campus community. This orchestra performs one concert per quarter (off campus) and is open to non-majors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels who play an orchestral instrument.