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PNW Conducting Institute

August 5-10, 2024

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"A supportive environment that allowed for musical risk taking and great opportunities to grow as an educator and conductor."

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APRIL 1, 2024 UPDATE: 

Please add your name to our waitlist

If positions become available,

we will notify you based on application date.  

Thank you! 

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 Whidbey's Saratoga Orchestra is led by renowned conducting teacher, Diane Wittry and Artistic Director Anna EdwardsGenerous 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. 

PNWCI 2022 Final Concert
PNWCI 2022
PNWCI 2021
PNWCI 2021
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


  • 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

  • Free Housing with Homestay Hosts

  • Special Topic seminars on the business of conducting

  • Video and audio recording of podium time

  • Networking events

  • and more! 

"Copious amount of podium time with very precise, tailored and helpful guidance on baton and rehearsal technique. Atmosphere balanced with positivism and excellence, you’ll always feel inspired to be better!"

"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." 

"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." 


Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
Diane Wittry - after the rain
Adolphus Hailstork - Symphony No. 1
Felix Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
Richard Wagner - Siegfried Idyll

Peter Warlock - Capriol Suite


  • 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. 

NEW FOR 2024

Conducting Fellows
Up to 10 Conducting Fellows will be chosen to conduct portions of the final concert. 

  • 70+ minutes podium time with full orchestra

  • 60+ minutes podium time with string quartet/piano 

Conducting Associates
Up to 4 Conducting Associates will be chosen to conduct portions of the final concert

  • 50+ minutes podium time with full orchestra

  • 40+ minutes podium time with string quartet/piano 

Conducting Participant

Up to 4 Conducting Participants will be chosen

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


Conducting Fellows - $2950

Conducting Associate - $2250
Conducting Participant - $1750

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

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

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

  • Island transportation to sponsored events will be provided by PNWCI volunteers for those without a vehicle. 

​February 15, 2024 - Registration Open
April 1, 2024 - Priority Applications Due
May 1, 2024 - Notification of Acceptance via email
May 15, 2024 -  $500 Non-Refundable Hold Deposit Due
July 1, 2024 - Balance of Full Payment Due


A $50.00 registration fee will be applied to tuition upon acceptance. 

Preference will be given to applications in the order they are received by the above dates.
There may be cancellations after the deadline, so please inquire if positions are
still available. 

Active Conductors (Fellows, Associates and Participants) should arrive on Whidbey Island Sunday and depart following the final concert Saturday afternoon, if possible. 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 with a viewing station available for video review.  You are welcome to record with your phone (tripod available) or other device. The final performance with the Conducting Fellows will be professionally videotaped for portfolio use. 

Auditors  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) 


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Diane Wittry

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

Conductor ANNA EDWARDS’ musical career progression as a violinist, educator, and symphony conductor has inspired her mission to encourage and promote musical diversity at the highest level from professional, educational, and collaborative music organizations across the country. She is a passionate advocate of music from underrepresented composers on the concert stage. 

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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 2022-23 season marks the tenth season for Edwards as Music Director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, ninth season as Music Director of the Whidbey's Saratoga Orchestra, and fifth season as Artistic Director of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute.

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. 

Anna launched her newest venture in the fall of 2022,, a curated list of composers and compositions that help music organizations create interesting and diverse programs for concert performance. 

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.  

Please contact Larry Heidel, Program Director at  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 Airlines has flights into 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. Before making a shuttle reservation please contact us as there may be options for carpooling from the airports. 

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 (Langley)
The ferry from Mukilteo on the mainland sails 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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