NWMF Orchestra History:
Led by award-winning music director and conductor Nan Washburn, the NWMF Orchestra celebrates the diversity of women’s musical expression through the presentation of works by women composers past and present. The first Festival Chamber Orchestra appeared in 1983 and notable performances included Gardner’s A Rainbow Path in 1988 and 2012 and Ouroboros: Seasons of Life – Women’s Passages in 1994. The NWMF Orchestra Women Composers Series has actively sought to collaborate with contemporary women composers and to bring them to the Festival. Recent examples include the commission and premiere of Remember for orchestra and women’s voices by Cara Haxo, The Initiate by Mary Watkins, presentation of The Journey of Phillis Wheatley by Nkeiru Okoye, and the works and artistry of composer and flutist Valerie Coleman. We also perform works by earlier women composers whose personal stories, creativity, talent, and perseverance are inspirational. Women composers, conductors, and performers continue to be vastly underrepresented within classical music and we are thrilled to present their work to you as an important part of our musical and cultural herstory.