Dear Friends,

We’re excited to announce the 2018-19 season of the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra! With your support, we’re embarking on our 4th year of beautiful, accessible, live classical music here in our community.

Blythe Gaissert sings Corigliano's "The Cloisters" in October

I was thinking about the French translation for orchestral conductor: “chef d’orchestre.” The image of a cook feels particularly appropriate this season. Like a good chef, we’ll introduce you to new flavors, new composers, and present some of the great classics with a fresh perspective. And so we are thrilled to present this year’s menu!

Too Hot to Handel at the United Palace

Too Hot to Handel at the United Palace

The theme that connects this season is collaboration. We’re exploring new and exciting partnerships that speak to our unique identity as uptown-ers. Our season opens on Saturday October 20th featuring mezzo soprano Blythe Gaissert performing John Corigliano’s song-cycle “The Cloisters,” along with Jessie Montgomery’s “Records from a vanishing City” and Beethoven’s Second Symphony. In November our principal woodwinds return to perform an eclectic concert featuring French composer Louise Farrenc, whom has been called one of the greatest woman composers of the 19th century.

Domingo Estrada, Jr. dances as the  Soldier  in "A Soldier's Tale"

Domingo Estrada, Jr. dances as the Soldier in "A Soldier's Tale"

In December we embark on a holiday project co-produced by the United Palace of Cultural Arts at 176th street and Broadway. In collaboration with the Fort Washington Community Choir and special guest artists, WHCO is performing “Too Hot to Handel” — a jazz-gospel re-imagining of Handel’s Messiah, originally conceived by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony. It’s an incredibly fun piece and the Messiah like you’ve never heard before! TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

In January we’re performing a bi-lingual version of Igor Stravinsky’s “A Soldier's Tale” with new original choreography by Billy Smith of the Mark Morris Dance Group. Tampopo Ramen is our featured guest at February’s concert, A Thousand Cranes, which will feature music written and influenced by Japan and Japanese-Americans. Join us for food and saké tasting after the concert. 

Mighty Cacophonous Orchestrasauras

Mighty Cacophonous Orchestrasauras

In March, the Strings of WHCO travel to Western Carolina University for a week-long residency, and we’ll return at the end of the week to perform a spectacular concert featuring music by Michael Torke, Anna Clyne, Benjamin Britten, and the Symphonic Serenade of Erich Korngold.

In April, we share a unique interactive concert for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, entitled “The Mighty Cacophonous Orchestrasauras.” We’ll discover together what makes the orchestra such an amazing creature!

From our children’s concert we switch gears in May to present an interactive concert for adults. We’re joined by Suite Français and composer Philip Lasser for a salon-style lecture concert exploring the lasting influence of the 20th century’s greatest musical pedagogue, Nadia Boulanger. The strings of WHCO will take you inside the works of great French and American composers who share a connecting vine through Boulanger’s matchless teaching.

Nadia Boulanger

Nadia Boulanger

In June we close our season with music by Puerto Rican-American composer Angélica Negron, a new violin concerto I’m writing for Amos Fayette, and we’ll perform Robert Schumann’s 2nd Symphony in C major.

Composer Angélica Negron

Composer Angélica Negron

I hope this music delights and inspires you. Come and experience something beautiful, local, live, and new together. Whether you are close to us or far; whether you take the A or 1 train, we hope you’ll join us, taste, and enjoy what makes our uptown community extraordinary.

Thank you for your support. See you soon!

Chris Whittaker
Music Director

Explore the 2018-19 Season Calendar


Upcoming Events

A Thousand Cranes
3:00pm January 23th, 2019
The strings of the WHCO perform music inspired by Japan and Japanese-American composers. The concert features works by Kenji Bunch, Toru Takemitsu, Karen Tanaka and Christopher Theofanidis. After the concert, Friends of WHCO enjoy a food and saké tasting courtesy of Tampopo Ramen.

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Our season is made possible in part with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

UMEZ enhances the economic vitality of all communities in Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments, and small business assistance.


Lower Manhattan Cultural Council empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Lower Manhattan and beyond.

We are thrilled to announce the results of a matching gift drive by The Bizzarro Agency!  For the opening of our 2018-19 season, The Bizzarro Agency matched up to the first $100 of individual gifts for a total match of $4,000! Renew or join us as a Friend of WHCO.

The Bizzarro Agency is a boutique real estate agency bringing honesty, integrity and neighborhood expertise to uptown Manhattan. Proudly serving Hudson Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem for over 15 years.  Learn more at


"From the entire Bizzarro Agency team: we hope you enjoy this wonderful music! A thriving, accessible and engaging arts scene is part of what makes our Northern Manhattan community exceptional. We're here for you if you decide to make uptown your home. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you throughout the season!”

- Matthew Bizzarro, Principal Broker/Owner

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