Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra
10900 Northeast 4th Street
The Bellevue Philharmonic's mission is to excite, enrich and entertain, through live orchestral music, all generations and communities on the Greater Eastside.
The Bellevue Philharmonic is the only professional orchestra in East King County and was founded by R. Joseph Scott as an all volunteer community group in 1967. After thirty years of increasing professionalism and musicianship, the Board of Directors decided to transform the orchestra into a fully-professional organization and launched an international search for a new music director. Maestro Fusao Kajima accepted the position in April 1998 and began conducting the orchestra in September of that year. The orchestra became fully professional in 1999, paying all musicians and employing full time paid administrative staff.
The Bellevue Philharmonic's mission is "to excite, enrich, and entertain, through live orchestral music, all generations and communities on the Greater Eastside." In pursuit of this mission, the Philharmonic offers approximately twenty diverse concerts each year including the July 4th performance as part of the Bellevue Downtown Family 4th Celebration, as well as an educational outreach program, "Sound Adventures in Schools."
A comprehensive marketing, publicity and re-branding campaign was launched in Spring 2003, including increased direct mail and radio advertising. Subscription sales have increased 121% since then. Due to audience demand, the Masterworks at the Meydenbauer series was expanded in the 2006-07 season to include six pairs of subscription concerts.
The "Sound Adventures in Schools" educational outreach program is another success story. This program reaches approximately 6,000 fourth and fifth graders in seven Eastside school districts annually. For many, this represents their first exposure to live orchestral music. The program includes a curriculum guide for teachers, small ensemble presentations in the schools and Young People's Concerts, conducted by Maestro Kajima. In 2003 "Sound Adventures in Schools" was awarded a highly competitive MetLife Foundation "Partnerships: Arts in the School" grant, one of only seventeen arts organizations in the United States to be so honored. Since its inception in 1999, "Sound Adventures in Schools" has served over 41,000 children, free of charge.
The Philharmonic has several other educational initiatives: (1) Master Classes are offered for young musicians featuring Bellevue Philharmonic guest artists. These classes are offered the week of the Philharmonic's subscription series and discounted concert tickets are offered to participants; (2) The Philharmonic will present its 5th Annual "Young Artists Debut Concert" on April 26, 2008. Young Eastside musicians will be selected to perform as soloists with the orchestra; (3) an Adult Education program, in conjunction with Bellevue Community College is taught by Fusao Kajima.
The Philharmonic employs four full time and four part time staff. Orchestra musicians are hired on a per-service basis; the orchestra has 60 regular members. The Bellevue Philharmonic League supports the Philharmonic's activities and offers many options for volunteering.
The Bellevue Philharmonic takes an active part in the local arts community and is a founding member of the Eastside Arts Coalition an advocacy group consisting of forty five performing and visual arts organizations. The Philharmonic performs with other Eastside arts organizations each season. Recent concerts have included performances with the Cascadian Chorale, Bellevue Chamber Chorus, Seattle Early Dance, Bailadores de Bronce and the Columbia Children's Choir. Local guest artists have included Erich Parce, Victor Benedetti, Janeanne Houston, Lori Summers, Ross Hauck and Brian Box.
The 2007-2008 season marks the Bellevue Philharmonic' fortieth anniversary season.
Year after year, season after season the Bellevue Philharmonic has been bringing great music close to home!