History of the Rose City Chamber Orchestra

The Rose City Chamber Orchestra first came into being in Spring of 1998. A small group of musicians, who felt that their needs were not being met in the greater Portland community, decided to venture out on their own and establish a small chamber orchestra together. The goal of the musicians in the Rose City Chamber Orchestra was (and continues to be) to achieve the highest quality musical experience to be enjoyed by both performers and community. The "premiere" concert was performed by the orchestra on April 5, 1998 and conducted by Tim Hankewich, former conducting apprentice for the Oregon Symphony, and now Assistant Conductor for the Kansas City Symphony. The "premiere" concert was a huge success, and the Rose City Chamber Orchestra was well on its way to becoming one of the most talked about and most highly respected community chamber orchestra in Portland.

The Rose City Chamber Orchestra is unique because the orchestra is run by the musicians themselves. All members of the Rose City Chamber Orchestra are empowered in all decision-making processes to the extent that each individual wishes to be. Those decisions range from the conductors engaged to the music performed. Everyone has a voice.

The orchestra does not have a permanent music director.  Each concert features a different conductor, or the orchestra may choose to play without a conductor on repertoire that benefits from the unique communication and intimacy that results from a concert sans chef. When we do have a conductor, the orchestra has been extremely fortunate to engage excellent leaders from across the country. Conductors that we have featured include:
David Colson Music Director of the Chico Symphony Orchestra, Chico, California
Zon Eastes Music Director of the Vermont Windham Orchestra
Huw Edwards Former Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, currently music director of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra in Portland 
Chris Younghoon Kim Assistant Conductor of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Artistic Director and Co-founder of the Brave New Works Series in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eric Kujawsky Music Director of the Redwood Symphony, Redwood City, California
J. Karla Lemon Music Director of the Stanford Symphony, Palo Alto, California
Sari Rönnholm Music Director of the Golden Valley Orchestra in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Apprentice Conductor with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minneapolis, Minnesota
David Golub Internationally recognized pianist with the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio, who has guest conducted many orchestras including the Hong Kong Philharmonic at Lincoln Center
Gilbert Seeley Music Director of the Oregon Repertory Singers, Portland, Oregon
David Seamon Conducting apprentice with the Oregon Symphony and cover conductor for several top national orchestras such as the Boston Symphony and National Symphony in Washington, D.C.
Thomas M. Sleeper Music Director of the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, Miami, Florida

Along with the conductors Rose City Chamber Orchestra has engaged, the guest artists have been equally "top-notch." 

Evan Chambers Irish Fiddler, Composer, and Professor at the University of Michigan
Pansy Chang Former cellist with the Oregon Symphony, currently Associate Professor of Cello at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Nicholas Crosa Portland's own Juilliard School-trained violinist, who has performed with The Oregon Symphony
Peter Frajola Violinist and Associate Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony
Leslie W. Green Portland Tenor who has soloed with many Oregon choruses
Nan Haemer Soprano and Vocalist who has sung with The Portland Baroque Orchestra Chorus
Mary Rowell, Ann van Bever, Carolyn Arnquist, Darren & Corrie Cook, Felipe Ovando & Garen Horgen Rose City Chamber Orchestra's own fabulous soloists
Judith Sagun Voice Professor (and Soprano) at the University of Portland
Gerald Webster Trumpet Professor at Portland State University and internationally known baroque trumpet specialist

Besides performing full concert seasons, the Rose City Chamber Orchestra has been invited to perform in Portland's Lents Park during the summers of 1998 and 1999 as part of the city's free summer music in the parks program. This was an opportunity for Rose City to reach out to the community, and especially to a portion of Portland that might not otherwise get the chance to hear live classical music.

In addition the Rose City Chamber Orchestra has been invited to perform with the Oregon Repertory Singers since 1999. The Oregon Repertory Singers provide opportunities for new types of audiences to hear their music on a regular basis.

Many exciting things are underway for the Rose City Chamber Orchestra. Each season proves to be even more exciting than the last, and with your help we will continue to strive to make the music as alive and exciting for the audience as it is for all of us to perform.

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