About Us

Your Community. Your Orchestra.

“[I have] rarely worked with a community orchestra that played with such enthusiasm and commitment.” - Garrick Ohlsson

The Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, previously the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, performs music of all ages to audiences of all ages throughout Whatcom County.

Choose an option from the right to learn more about who we are and what we do.

Photo credit: Damian Vines Photography

Our Timeline

Today

Today, the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra is comprised of over 80 volunteer musicians, including local music teachers, active and retired professional musicians, and talented community members from all backgrounds. The orchestra performs six season concerts at the Mount Baker Theatre annually and reaches over 7,500 children throughout Whatcom County each year with youth engagement and in-school programs.

2019

The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra becomes the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra following an April 2018 vote by the musicians and Board of Directors.

2013

Maestro Yaniv Attar takes to the podium

"My first season with the WSO has been truly remarkable...The support and love of the community to our wonderful symphony is, in my mind, unparalleled and a source of envy to many orchestras in this country."

- Yaniv Attar, Music Director

Damian Vines Photography
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2000

The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra celebrates 25 years!

Courtesy of the BSO Archives
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1993

WWU Professor Roger Briggs is named Associate Conductor, and, in 1997, Briggs becomes Artistic Director of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

Courtesy of the BSO Archives
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1991

The orchestra starts performances in the historic Mount Baker Theatre.

“After years of wandering from auditorium to auditorium, we finally had our very own home!”

- Jane Lund, Violin

Courtesy of the BSO Archives
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1979

Nicholas Bussard becomes Music Director of the orchestra. Shortly thereafter, the orchestra becomes known as the Whatcom Community Orchestra. In 1985, the organization becomes known as the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.

"Amateur needn't mean less talented. It often means multi-talented."

- Nicholas Bussard

Courtesy of the BSO Archives
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1976

A small group of area musicians came together to prepare a concert celebrating the Bicentennial. The new Whatcom County Bicentennial Orchestra, directed by Frank Nielsen, gives its first public performance on March 16th, 1976.

“We were intent on coming together to put on a good concert. But we enjoyed the experience and camaraderie so much, we decided to continue on!”

- Joanne Donnellan, Founding Member