25th Annual PLU Festival for High School Orchestras - Friday, October 14, 2022

Let us welcome your orchestra to Lagerquist Concert Hall!
Welcome, from Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, Director of Pacific Lutheran University Orchestras

For over twenty years, the PLU Orchestras have hosted up to a dozen of the finest high school orchestras from around the region to Lagerquist Hall for a day of music making and sharing. The Annual PLU Orchestra Festival offers your ensemble an opportunity early in the year to hone their performance skills and get great feedback both from our guest clinicians and from our warm, generous acoustic.

The PLU Orchestra Festival offers high school orchestras and chamber orchestras the opportunity to play in the world class Lagerquist Concert Hall at Pacific Lutheran University and to receive feedback from some of the most distinguished musicians and orchestral educators in the Puget Sound.

Paul-Elliott Cobbs is an avid educator and world-renowned maestro.  His talent and amicable personality have inspired both musicians and symphony-goers throughout the world.  As Music Director, Dr. Cobbs conducts the Tacoma Youth Symphony, Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony, annual Chamber Orchestra (formerly the Bach Festival) and Peter and the Wolf Children’s Concert. In addition to his conducting duties, Dr. Cobbs is the head of the chamber music program and leads the musical direction of the entire organization. He is also the Music Director of the Evergreen Music Festival. In addition to his work with the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association, Dr. Cobbs is Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Philharmonic and frequent Guest Conductor and adjudicator throughout the world.  Having just returned from England where he conducted the Sussex Symphony, he has also recently completed 26 years with the Everett Symphony and 7 years as Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University and is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Philharmonic.

The PLU Orchestra Festival offers high school orchestras and chamber orchestras...

  • A chance to perform in one of the best concert venues in Washington, Lagerquist Concert Hall
  • Positive feedback from an expert guest clinician, and some of the most distinguished musicians and orchestral educators in the Puget Sound
  • A day of fellowship with players and conductors from around the region in a non-competitive atmosphere
  • A low entry fee
  • A link to an audio/video recording of your performance and clinic session will be provided within approximately two weeks after the festival

Past Clinicians have included...

  • Jerry Kracht, Prof. Emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University
  • Don Thulean, former Music Director of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra
  • Roger Briggs, Conductor Emeritus of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra
  • Huw Edwards, Music Director of the Olympia Symphony
  • Paul Eliot Cobbs, Music Director of the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association
  • George Shangrow, Former Music Director of Orchestra Seattle
  • Roupen Shakarian, Music Director of Philharmonia Northwest
  • Harvey Felder, Music Director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
  • Stewart Kershaw, Music Director of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra
  • David Waltham, Former Music Director of the Rainier Symphony Orchestra
  • Wesley Schulz, Orchestra Director at the University of Puget Sound
  • Marcus Tsutakawa, Conductor Emeritus of the Garfield Symphony Orchestra

Host and Conductor of the PLUSO

Maestro Bell-Hanson begins his twentieth season as Music Director of the Pacific Lutheran University Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Music in 2021. Since his arrival in the Pacific Northwest in 2002, he has become a familiar presence as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator and orchestral educator. Each year he works with school orchestras at all levels throughout the region and beyond, bringing to them the perspective of his thirty-eight year career as a conductor and as a scholar.

Dr. Bell-Hanson has conducted orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the United States and in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, including the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra, the Olympia Symphony, the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, the Vratza Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Bulgarica. His long career on the podium and as a teacher has also included faculty appointments in Kansas, Louisiana and Michigan, where he won recognition for excellence in teaching both from Michigan Technological University and the State of Michigan. He has served as music director of both the Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra in Kansas and, for fourteen years, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra in Michigan.

Other teaching duties at Pacific Lutheran University include Music History from the early nineteenth century to the present, Aural Skills and the supervision of research capstones in music. His own resent research and writing focuses on the formation of vocation for musicians.