PNW Conducting Institute

August 2-7

"A supportive environment that allowed for musical risk taking and great opportunities to grow as an educator and conductor" - 2019 PNWCI Participant

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The Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute held on beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington State, provides a unique opportunity and experience for music educators, student conductors, as well as seasoned professionals. The six day workshop, sponsored by Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island features Artistic Director Anna Edwards and renowned conducting teacher, Diane Wittry. Generous amounts of podium time for Active Conductor participants, networking events, and special topic discussion sessions geared toward the "business" of conducting will energize your next steps as a conductor. 

Final Concert
Pre-concert chat
Social Time at Whidbey Island Distillery
Dress Rehearsal
The Squiggle Exercise
Working with violin soloist Maria Larionoff
Dianne Wittry
Maxwelton Beach Picnic
Final Concert with soloist Walter Gray
Post concert reception
Piano/String Quartet rehearsal
Maxwelton Beach Group Photo

Openings still available for Conducting Fellows, Associates and Auditors! 


  • Score study sessions

  • Sessions on rehearsal and gesture technique

  • Conducting sessions with string quartet and piano

  • Conducting sessions with the Saratoga Orchestra

  • A dress rehearsal and final concert performance for Conducting Fellows

  • Special Topic seminars on the business of conducting

  • Video and audio recording of podium time

  • Networking events

Health and safety are our utmost priority during this time. 

** This event will comply with Washington State COVID-19 safety protocols**

This may include:

Social distancing, wearing of masks when required,

and proof of vaccinations if requested. 

"The PNWCI was an enriching experience in a wonderful part of the country. The ability to work with a great orchestra was remarkable."
- Matt S., Boston

"This was an amazing experience, it was such a positive environment and Diane and Anna were always encouraging and personalizing their advice, we all come from different paths and have different bodies and quirks, they were just perfect in figuring out what we all needed to work on and I think every participant benefited greatly from this workshop. I highly recommend it." - Iliana F., Puebla, Mexico

"This has been one of the best festival experiences I have had. Thank you so much for the experience." - Bobby C., Seattle

"As a young woman, the opportunities to study under two female conductors has been so inspiring and I have learned so much in  a short time. The repertoire is some of my favorite music, the location is beautiful and refreshing, and the orchestra has shown such wonderful hospitality and support. I'm incredibly grateful to have participated in this workshop." Emily K., Nashville

"I was very impressed with the organization and learning environment created by all those involved from Diane and Anna, to the musicians and amazing supportive staff and sponsors. Every moment in the week long intensive workshop was centered on bringing out and developing the conducting skills of all those involved. This was done in a supportive environment that allowed for musical risk taking and great opportunities to grow as an educator and conductor. Thank you for such a special week!!"  - Dave H., San Francisco


Antonín Dvořák - Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22

Grażyna Bacewicz - Concerto for String Orchestra (1948)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - 4 Novelletten for String Orchestra, Op.52

Hanna Benn - Where Springs Not Fail


Plus, select movements from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition conducted to piano/string quartet

  • Active Conductor Applicants will be required to submit a CV or Music Resumé, Professional References and Video Clips. 

  • Auditors should submit a Music Resumé or CV at a minimum and a video would 


Conducting Fellows
Up to 9 Conducting Fellows will be chosen to conduct portions of the final concert. 

  • 60+ minutes podium time with full orchestra

  • 50+ minutes podium time with string quartet/piano 

Conducting Associates
Up to 6 Conducting Associates will be chosen. 

  • 45+ minutes minimum of combined podium time with both string quartet/piano and full orchestra depending on the number of accepted applicants.

Conducting Fellows - $2250
Conducting Associates - $1500

Auditor - In Person - $100/day or $500/week (M-F)

Auditor - Virtual via Zoom- $50/day or $200/week (M-F)

The $50.00 registration fee will be applied to tuition if chosen. 

  • Housing is included in private homes for Conducting Fellows and Associates. 

  • ALL HOSTS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED and require conductors to be vaccinated as well.** 

  • Travel, airport transfers and most meals will be the responsibility of all participants. 

  • Island transportation to sponsored events will be provided by PNWCI volunteers for those without a vehicle. No rental car is needed. 

PNWCI is an accredited provider of clock hours through the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Please inquire for further information. 

Active Conductors (Fellows and Associates) should arrive on Whidbey Island Sunday and depart following the final concert Saturday afternoon. Accommodation will be made for those needing to arrive one day prior or depart one day after the final concert. 


All conducting sessions will be videotaped. A SD card will be provided for rehearsal sessions, with a viewing station available for video review.  You are welcome to record with your phone (tripod available) or other device. The final performance will be professionally videotaped with pro audio for portfolio use. 

Auditors (In Person) will be invited to observe all podium sessions and participate in all study and special topic sessions. Auditing is an excellent way to study the scores and learn from the faculty and from your colleagues. Auditors will be responsible for their own housing arrangements but we are happy to make suggestions. Fee: $100/Day or $500/week (Monday-Friday) 


Auditors (Virtual) will join via Zoom conferencing and will observe all morning and afternoon podium sessions only. Fee: $50/Day or $200/week (Monday-Friday)

Auditors may register up to August 2nd prior to the workshop beginning. A daily activity schedule will be released for your information on planned events. 


Diane Wittry

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Named as one of the "Top 30 Music Influencers" by Musical America Worldwide, Conductor, DIANE WITTRY,  is the Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony, PA and the Music Director and Conductor of the Garden State Philharmonic, NJ.  Diane Wittry is known for her innovative programming and her engaging audience rapport. She is a conductor who “specializes in finding creative ways to make the music fresh, accessible, and exciting.”

Diane Wittry has led performances by the Milwaukee Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Osaka Symphony (Japan), the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), Sias Symphony (China), among others.  She has also conducted at the music festivals of Ojai (CA), Penn’s Woods (PA), and I-Park (CT).  During the past few seasons, she has conducted concerts in 11 countries as well as concerts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.  
Diane Wittry is sought after as a teacher of conducting.  Her book Beyond the Baton, (Oxford University Press) about artistic leadership for conductors has become a standard text for the industry. Her second book, Baton Basics - Communicating Music through Gestures, is used at Universities for their conducting classes and for International Conducting Workshops in Bulgaria, Ukraine, and the United States.
Wittry has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times and Newsweek, and has received many honors and awards, including the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award for outstanding artistic leadership of a regional orchestra.  She is also only the third American to be named - in recognition of her leadership in the arts and humanities - the recipient of the prestigious Fiorino Doro Award from the City of Vinci, Italy.
More information about Diane Wittry's work is available at:  

Anna Edwards, Artistic Director

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Conductor, ANNA EDWARDS musical career progression as a violinist, educator, and symphony conductor has been inspired by her commitment to core values of high-quality musical performance, development of musicians and composers through music education and community engagement. Anna is recognized as a leader in the United States for the expectation of musical diversity in symphonic orchestral music. 

Anna’s dedication to quality musical performance started with her early career as a professional violinist, performing with prestigious ensembles such as the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Sinfonietta, Auburn Symphony, Silsbee Piano Trio and multiple chamber ensembles. As a violinist, Ms. Edwards was drawn to innovative new music and a strong desire to keep classical music relevant with generational changes in audiences. Recognizing that change starts at the student level, Anna’s focus moved to music education, including serving as the Music Director at the national award-winning Roosevelt High School in Seattle for 18 years. 

Leveraging her experiences as an instrumentalist and educator Edwards turned to refine her career as a conductor. After training with Michael Jinbo at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for three seasons, she received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Washington. Currently, Edwards balances her time between conducting in the Pacific Northwest, serving as a guest conductor/clinician across the country, and developing young musicians through instruction and collaboration with professionals in concert settings. The 2020-21 season marks the ninth season for Edwards as Music Director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, seventh season as Music Director of the Saratoga Orchestra, and fourth season as Music Director of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute. In 2018-2019 Edwards led the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra as Interim Music Advisor and Conductor. She has been selected to conduct numerous All-State Orchestras, honor ensembles, and regional orchestras across the country.

More information about Anna at:


Whidbey Island's Saratoga Orchestra is comprised of some of the finest musicians from Whidbey Island,

Seattle ​and the Pacific Northwest region.


QUESTIONS? We are happy to answer them.  


or call 360-929-3045


The Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute is headquartered in Langley, WA at Langley United Methodist Church and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.  

Affectionately known as the "Village by the Sea", Langley is home to exquisite art galleries, one-of a-kind shops, unique outdoor adventures and some really great dining options. Situated on a bluff above the Salish Sea's Saratoga Passage, the views aren't half-bad either! 

Getting Here

Arriving by Air

  • Seattle-Tacoma Int'l Airport (SEA) is the closest major airport to Whidbey Island with numerous options for most domestic and international routes. Whidbey SeaTac Airport Shuttle provides frequent service from SEA to all points on Whidbey Island. 

  • Alaska and United airlines serve Everett's Paine Field (PAE) with direct service from many major western US cities.

  • Bellingham (BLI) and Vancouver B.C., Canada (YVR) may also be a viable option depending on your departure city. 


Whidbey Seatac Shuttle  is a convenient shuttle service between SEA International Airport, PAE Everett Paine Field and Whidbey Island. Once on Whidbey Island, volunteer drivers are available for participants getting to/from sponsored events. No rental car is needed.

Arriving by Car
If you are driving to Whidbey Island from points south, you can take the ferry from the Mukilteo terminal which is 24 miles north of downtown Seattle and just off I-5.

Ferry - Mukilteo to Clinton
The ferry from Mukilteo on the mainland will get you to Clinton on Whidbey Island. The ferry ride is about a twenty minute sailing and ferries leave approximately every 30 minutes. During the summer, the ferry can be quite busy and you may experience an extended wait time. 

Over the Bridge
If you are coming from points north of Whidbey Island, you can cross to the island on Highway 20 via Deception Pass Bridge which connects the north of Whidbey to the mainland. The views are spectacular! 

For tourist information on Whidbey Island, visit:

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