UW Symphony and Combined UW Choirs

  • UW Symphony director David Alexander Rahbee (photo: Steve Korn)

The University Symphony Orchestra and the combined UW Choirs present an end-of-quarter performance. 

Masks are required in all indoor spaces on the UW campus, and patrons must show proof of vaccination or recent (within 72 hours of the performance) negative COVID-19 test for entry to live events at Meany Hall. Enhanced sanitation measures and touchless ticketing are among other safety measures in effect for 2021-22. Details of these policies and procedures are at: https://artsevents.washington.edu/covid-protocols 


Director Bio

David Alexander Rahbee

David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and Chair of Orchestral Conducting. He is Music Director and Conductor of the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra and founder of the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras. He is a recipient of the American-Austrian Foundation's 2003 Herbert von Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, a fellowship the Acanthes Centre in Paris (2007), and is first prize winner in conducting from The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts for 2020. His work at UW has earned national recognition. In 2021 he was praised by The American Prize as “Consistently one of the most courageous and comprehensive [orchestral] programmers working in higher education in the U.S. today…”

Dr. Rahbee has appeared in concert with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Kammerphilharmonie Berlin-Brandenburg, Guernsey Symphony Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony, National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, Orchestre de la Francophonie, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Dresden Hochschule orchestra, Grand Harmonie, the Boston New Music Initiative, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja (Ecuador), Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Cool Opera of Norway (members of the Stavanger Symphony), Schönbrunner Schloss Orchester (Vienna), the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, the Kennett Symphony, and the Divertimento Ensemble of Milan. His collaborations with the Seattle Symphony include assistant conductor for the performance and recording of Ives’ Fourth Symphony, and as guest conductor for their Native Lands project and the North American premiere of Páll Ragnar Pallson's Quake with faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir. He has collaborated with several prominent soloists such as Sarah Chang, Jon Kimura Parker, Yekwon Sunwoo, Glenn Dicterow and Jonathan Biss. He has been a guest rehearsal conductor for numerous young orchestras, such as the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University, and the Vienna University of Technology orchestra. He has served on faculty of the Pierre Monteux School as Conducting Associate, has been resident conductor of the Atlantic Music Festival and guest conductor at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.

Dr. Rahbee was an assistant at the Vienna State opera from 2002-2010. As part of his fellowship and residency at the 2003 Salzburg Festival, Dr. Rahbee was assistant conductor of the International Attergau Institute Orchestra, where he worked with members of the Vienna Philharmonic. He has been selected to actively participate in masterclasses with prominent conductors such as Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdeněk Mácal, Peter Eötvös, Zoltán Peskó and Helmut Rilling, and counts Nikolaus Harnoncourt to be among his most influential mentors. From 1997-2001, David Rahbee was founder and conductor of the Fidelio Chamber Orchestra in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Rahbeeʼs principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin and composition from Indiana University, a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory in orchestral conducting, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Montreal in orchestral conducting.  He has also participated in post-graduate conducting classes at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna. His brass arrangements are published by Warwick Music, and his articles on the music of Mahler have appeared in journals of the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft, among others.

In addition to being awarded first prize in conducting from The American Prize for 2020, he was awarded 2nd place in 2019. He has also placed among winners for five consecutive years for The American Prize Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for Orchestral Programming, recognizing his programming with the UW Symphony and its affiliated ensembles for every season since he joined the faculty. The UWSO has also been a finalist in the category of orchestral performance in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Dr. Rahbee is co-editor of Daniels’ Orchestral Music (6thedition) and Daniels’ Orchestral Music Online (DOMO), the gold standard among conductors, orchestral administrators, orchestra librarians as well as other music professionals and students researching for orchestral programming.

Geoffrey Boers

Geoffrey Boers is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Washington in Seattle, a program widely recognized as forward thinking, unique, and of great distinction. Under his direction, the graduate choral program has developed a singular mission: to nurture the whole student as conductor-teacher-servant-leader-scholar. This vision has led the program to become one of the most vibrant and innovative in the country, attracting students from around the world interested in exploring the future of our art. Through his teaching he is exploring the evolution of conducting gesture and rehearsal pedagogy and their connection with the emerging neuroscience of mirror neurons, empathy, perception, learning, and personal transformation. His exploration has led to new thoughts about conducting and teaching with regard to breath, movement, artistry, personal awareness, and cultural development. Recently, his work has led to the mentoring of local choral cohorts of teachers and conductors who are interested in building professional communities of ongoing mentorship and musical development.  He has developed such mentorship programs across the United States and Canada. In addition to these thoughts about mentorship he is actively working with other leaders in ACDA and NAfME to develop a more unified and useful system for development of musicianship, assessment, adjudication, and repertoire grading. 

Geoffrey maintains an active conducting, teaching, workshop and clinic schedule; his recent engagements have included conducting concerts in Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Meyerson Concert Hall in Dallas, New York’s Alice Tully and Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. In addition he has served as artist-in-residence in Toronto, Ontario, Mainz, Germany, as well as Seoul, Korea with the world-renown choir the Incheon City Chorale

In addition to his position at the UW, Boers sings professionally and is the conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Chorus where he conducts both the choir and symphony players in a four-concert season.

Since his tenure at the University of Washington, the choral program has become a leader in promoting the performance, study and exchange of Baltic music in the United States. The choir has toured to the Baltic countries in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2013. Geoffrey Boers was awarded a prestigious Royalty Research Grant in 2004 to create a Baltic Choral Library in collaboration with the UW Library as well as State and academic libraries in the Baltic. This collection of scores, manuscripts, vocal music, and writings is the first of its kind in the United States. This collection has promoted yearly exchanges with choirs and conductors from the Baltic area who travel each year to Seattle. Further, it has led to numerous UW choral students winning awards and scholarships to travel, study, and work in the Baltic countries.

Giselle Wyers (she/her/hers) is the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Professor of Choral Music at the University of Washington, where she conducts the award-winning University Chorale and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in choral conducting and music education. She serves as the newly appointed School of Music's designated Diversity Liaison. University Chorale’s latest CD, Resonant Streams (on the MSR Music Recordings label) was featured in a 2018 Gramophone magazine article. Wyers is the newly appointed director of Concord Chamber Choir, an adult community chorus within the Columbia Choirs community. Her professional project choir Solaris Vocal Ensemble, specializes in the performance of contemporary American choral literature. Their premiere album Floodsongs, on the Albany Music label, won the American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music in 2017-18.

As a guest conductor, Wyers has led high school honor choirs and all-state choruses in New York (Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center), Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Connecticut, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Vancouver, Canada. She has conducted semi-professional ensembles across the United States and in Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Sweden. Wyers was in demand for Zoom lectures during the pandemic with Res Diversa Chamber Choir (Chile), Western Washington University (a three-week group composition project), University of Iowa, Northern Illinois University, Montana State University, and with the Mastersingers of Milwaukee (Wisconsin), as well as conducting Nevada All-State online. 

Wyers is a leading national figure in the application of Laban movement theory for conductors. She has served as guest lecturer in conducting at Sweden’s Örebro Universitet, European Festival of Church Music (Germany), Latvian Academy of Music, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Westminster Choir College, University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Portland State University.

Wyers’ choral works are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company as part of the "Giselle Wyers Choral Series," and have been performed across the United States, South America, Canada, Australia, Cuba, and numerous European cities. She will conduct her 30-minute choral cycle entitled And All Shall Be Well, in Carnegie Hall May of 2022 with a consortium of NW-based choruses. In 2021-22, she will serve as composer-in-residence for the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium's annual festivities celebrating the return of in-person singing (her appearance is sponsored by Consortio). Wyers is also committed to mentoring scholar-writers in the field, and serves on the editorial board of ACDA’s Choral Journal.