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About Northwest Sinfonietta

The region's premier professional chamber orchestra

Founded in 1991 by conductor Christophe Chagnard and harpsichordist Kathryn Habedank, Northwest Sinfonietta started as a single performance to commemorate the bicentennial of Mozart.  The orchestra has evolved since then, connecting with the unique identity of the Pacific Northwest while performing music written for the intimate setting of 30-40 performers which make up a traditional chamber orchestra.  Over twenty-five years later the ensemble has grown into a celebrated anchor of the classical music community in the Northwest, as one of the only orchestras to regularly serve King and Pierce counties.  It includes thirty-five members who perform in other professional ensembles, teach privately and at the university level, and perform as soloists and chamber musicians in orchestras and festivals throughout the area.  Regular season concerts are held in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup, with additional performances at special added venues. 

Awards and Distinctions

The Sinfonietta was honored to be the third American orchestra to tour and perform in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.  In 2012 and 2013, the orchestra visited the island nation and performed with musicians young and old from around the nation, including a concert in Cienfuegos (Tacoma's sister city).  In 2016, while celebrating the 25th anniversary of the orchestra, Northwest Sinfonietta was recognized with the Governor's Arts Award for excellence as an organization. 

The ensemble has worked to reduce barriers for audiences to enjoy classical music, and feel engaged and invigorated by the live performance experience.  As The News Tribune's Rosemary Ponnekanti observed in 2017, "To those glum prophets who perpetually tell us that 'classical music is dead'- you completely missed the party this weekend.  It's thanks to... groups like the Northwest Sinfonietta that classical music is, in fact, joyously alive."

The Artistic Partner Model

During the 2015-16 season the Sinfonietta became the second American orchestra- and first on the West Coast- to adopt an artistic partner model of leadership.  This unique approach brings a mix of conductors and partners to collaborate with orchestra members over multiple seasons, encouraging more active leadership from members of the Sinfonietta and providing audiences with a wide range of excellent musical offerings each year. 

The founding artistic partners including Maestros David Lockington (Pasadena Symphony, Modesto Symphony), Joseph Swensen (Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse), and Eric Jacobsen (The Knights NYC, Orlando Philharmonic).  Each partner joined the Sinfonietta for three seasons to develop the model and share their expertise and passions for composers from Mozart and Tchaikovsky to contemporary works by Gabriel Kahane and Alexander Miller. 

Now in the fourth season of this unique model, the Sinfonietta is proud to announce David Lockington as the Principal Artistic Partner, and welcome Israeli-American conductor Yaniv Attar (Whatcom Symphony, Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra) as a new Artistic Partner.  Maestro Lockington, after three seasons of concerts celebrated by audiences and musicians alike, will take a more active role in crafting the artistic vision and brand of the orchestra.  The performances led by Artistic Partners will be complemented by a series of musician-led, unconducted concerts which spotlight the leadership of the orchestra's members, performing works for smaller orchestra which are often unheard in major concert halls throughout the country. 

Musician-led Programming 

The orchestra added a dynamic new series of concerts in each of our three main cities, beginning in 2017.  With a talented mix of professional artists performing in the Sinfonietta, these programs offer a chance to spotlight our performers in a leading role, while crafting individualized programs that connect with each city's unique audience and setting.  In the 2018-19 season each of these programs will feature a unique first half, and a signature work for the season on the second half: Tchaikovsky's powerful and beloved Serenade for Strings.  

Looking to the Future 

As the orchestra approaches its 30th anniversary season in 2020-21, it remains committed to providing engaging, invigorating programs of the highest artistic quality for audiences in communities large and small.  Our collaborative approach to leadership and programming gives patrons a chance to explore the wide world of classical music in the course of one season.  With a move to the Metropolist for our Seattle venue- a historic 1919 warehouse space in the SoDo district- the Sinfonietta now offers two concert programs in a casual, social setting which emphasizes a relaxed experience for audience members to share with their friends and neighbors.  These settings augment our long-standing Tacoma series in the stunning acoustic of the Rialto Theater, which offers a perfect setting for those who prefer a traditional concert format. 


Learn about our performance venues

Visit our calendar for specific concert information

Questions? ask us!

We’re here to help, contact us via our online contact form or give us a call at 253.383.5344 or toll-free at 888.356.6040


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