22nd Annual PLU Festival for High School Orchestras - Friday, October 12, 2018

Reservations are now closed for the 2018 PLU Orchestra Festival.
We hope that you will consider making a reservation for the 2019 festival. Reservations will open in the late spring 2019.

Lagerquist Hall from stage
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.

Our guest clinician this year will be Marcus Tsutakawa, a nationally recognized orchestral educator and conductor of the Seattle Junior Symphony Orchestra.  Maestro Tsutakawa is no stranger to the PLU Orchestra Festival.  He and the Garfield Symphony Orchestra were a perennial feature of the event from its first year until his retirement from the Seattle Public Schools in 2016.  Welcome back, Marcus!

Marcus Tsutakawa is a distinguished conductor and music educator based in Seattle, Washington. He was conductor of the nationally recognized Garfield High School Orchestra for 31 years, and taught music in Seattle Public Schools from 1979 to 2016.  He also is serving in his 19th season as conductor of the Seattle Junior Symphony Orchestra.

Guest conducting honors include the Indiana All-State Orchestra (Indianapolis, 2008), the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of America (Minneapolis, 2008), Texas Music Educators Association Region IX Middle School Honors Orchestra (San Antonio, 2013), California Orchestra Directors Association Honors String Orchestra (Los Angeles,  2017), among others. Tsutakawa was the featured teacher in the 2003 and 2014 School Band and Orchestra Magazines.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proclaimed March 1, 2016, as Marcus Tsutakawa Day in honor of his contributions and service in the arts to the City of Seattle. Tsutakawa also is a member of the Lifetime Board of Directors for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

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
  • An audio recording made in the rich acoustic of our hall
  • A downloadable video of your performance*
  • A day of fellowship with players and conductors from around the region in a non-competitive atmosphere
  • A low entry fee

*The video is available for a small extra cost.

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

Host and Conductor of the PLUSO

Maestro Bell-Hanson begins his seventeenth season as Music Director of the Pacific Lutheran University Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Music in 2018. 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. During just the 2017-2018 season alone he has served as clinician to dozens of orchestras throughout Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, on the east coast and in California.

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.