Whidbey Island boasts a highly professional classical symphony orchestra, the Saratoga Orchestra. Local residents are treated to excellent programs several times a year performed by musicians from all corners of Whidbey Island and occasional guest musicians who enjoy performing with the orchestra. Currently, over half of the orchestra players live on Whidbey.
Most of the current orchestra members have held, or currently hold, positions in the Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boulder (CO) Philharmonic, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Everett Philharmonic, Seattle Philharmonic as well as other regional and community orchestras.
The Saratoga Orchestra performs concerts island-wide, including performances in Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland and Langley; a young conductor mentorship program has been established; Young Artist Competitions have given local youth a chance to solo with the orchestra; and a Talent Development Program has been implemented which pairs young musicians with seasoned professionals.
This past season was the beginning of a transition for the orchestra after the announcement of the retirement of Conductor Legh Burns. A nation-wide search was conducted to find his successor. Three candidates were chosen to audition by conducting one concert each during the 2013 – 2014 season.
The orchestra will also be partnering with Sno-Isle Libraries to present Concert Preview talks as a way for the community to interact with our conductor candidates. The first will take place at Freeland Library on October 31st, 3:00 – 4:00 pm
The 2013 – 14 Season Highlights:
Julia Tai, Conductor
November 3, 2013, 2:30 pm, South Whidbey High School
Music of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Beethoven with Robert Swan, piano soloist
Chao Li, Conductor
January 26, 2014, 2:30, South Whidbey High School
Music of Puccini, Chausson and Brahms with Gloria Ferry-Brennan, violin soloist
Anna Edwards, Conductor
March 9, 2014 2:30 pm, South Whidbey High School
Music of Ravel, Barber, Poteat and Poulenc with Catherine Haight, soprano soloist
In spring 2014, a new conductor will be chosen from these three to lead the orchestra forward.
To learn more about the origins of the Saratoga Orchestra, read the story in the Whidbey Island Life Examiner
Tickets are now on sale for the season, including the ever popular Season Flex Pass ticket. For information visit the website