24th Annual PLU Festival for High School Orchestras - Friday, October 15, 2021

Please contact Dr. Jeffrey Bell-Hanson at bellhajl@plu.edu by September 24, 2021 to express your interest in this event. Only a limited number of orchestras can be accommodated. The invitation to participate will include registration information. Registration and credit card payment will be available online and is required prior to participation in the event.

As of Saturday, March 12, 2022 the PLU campus has moved to a mask-optional policy in concert with changes at the state level and recommendations of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. In addition, the university will no longer mandate proof of vaccination for visitors attending campus events.

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.

Roupen Shakarian, conductor and composer, will be our guest clinician this year. This is the second time Maestro Shakarian has joined us in this capacity. He was longtime music director of the Skagit Symphony before his retirement in 2018. He is a frequent clinician in this region and is widely respected for his work with professionals and students alike.

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.