The Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll as their new music director/conductor.

More information about Dr. Spatola-Knoll can be found in the below section on Our Music Director/Conductor.

We look forward to an exciting season ahead!


In 2000, two friends, Joyce Cunningham and Duane Bowen, decided to start a reading orchestra for fun and friendship.  The group met to read music together at Providence Point.  Joyce generously donated her music library to the group and Dr. Bowen served as the first conductor.  From this original reading group of six people, the Issaquah Chamber Orchestra was born.  The Issaquah Chamber Orchestra began performing free public concerts in 2003.  The first public concert was given on November 24, 2003 at Providence Point.  Dr. Bowen served as the original conductor, Nona Martin was the original Concert Master, and Joyce Cunningham served as the first Personnel Manager and Librarian.

The group continued to grow.  By 2010 the group had grown to the point of no longer being a chamber ensemble and the name was changed to the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra.  On February 17, 2012, the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra became a 501C3 Non-profit Corporation.

As an all-volunteer non-profit community orchestra, the IPO still holds true to its founding ideals of music for fun and friendship.   The orchestra is very welcoming and has members of many backgrounds and ages.  Orchestra members range in age from high school students to people in their nineties.  The IPO makes a special effort to reach out to families with young children and seniors in the community.  All concerts are free and musicians come out during intermission to talk with any interested audience member about their instruments while sharing free juice and cookies.

The orchestra owes a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Bowen who generously ran the group with a personal business license until the group evolved into a non-profit corporation.  Dr. Bowen has been recognized and honored for his leadership by being named Conductor Emeritus of the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra.

Our Conductors

  • Dr. Duane Bowen 2003–2011
  • Dr. Eric Hanson November 21, 2011 Concert
  • Joshua Zimmerman, Interim Music Director/Conductor 2012-2013
  • Chase Chang 2013 – 2016
  • Dr. Duane Bowen 2016 – 2019
  • Dr. Nse Ekpo 2019 – 2023
  • Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll 2023 – present

Our Assistant Conductor

  • Dr. Nse Ekpo 2018 – 2019

Our Concert Masters

    • Nona Martin 2003-2006
    • Mary Louise Davis 2006-2007
    • Darlene Rose 2007- 2015
    • Hans Klein 2015 (March 16th Concert)
    • Darlene Rose 2015 – 2018
    • Kathryn Zufall  2018 (March 19th Concert)
    • Darlene Rose 2018 (May 21st Concert)
    • Micah Knight 2018 (December 3rd Concert)
    • Judith Beatie 2019 (March 18th Concert)
    • Eric Spradling 2019 (May 20th concert)
    • Judith Beatie 2019 – present

Our Music Director/Conductor – Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll

Dr. Spatola-Knoll, a pianist and violist, did his doctoral work in conducting and musicology at the University of California Davis and earned his undergraduate degree at Whitman College. He is currently the Conducting Assistant of Symphony Tacoma and teaches in the Bethel School District. The winner of the 2020 Cascade Conducting Fellowship and a finalist for the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting, his accomplishments also include a residency at the Salzburg Festival as a winner of the Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors (American-Austrian Foundation), an award selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has special expertise in the work of Elfrida Andree, a Swedish composer and feminist pioneer.

Our Conductor Emeritus – Dr. Duane Bowen

Dr. Duane Bowen, the founding conductor of the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra, retired from a career in music education with wide experiences both performing in and conducting school, community, and professional orchestras and church choirs.

After several years of conducting high school bands and orchestras, he became professor of music at Eastern New Mexico University where he was a woodwind specialist, teacher of conducting, and associate conductor of the university band and orchestra. Dr. Bowen has performed with several orchestras including the Baton Rouge and the New Orleans symphonies in Louisiana; the Jackson, Mississippi Symphony; the Roswell, New Mexico symphony; and the Sammamish Symphony. He has performed as a bassoon soloist with the ENMU Symphony, and has also performed in concert on flute, oboe, and saxophone. Dr. Bowen served as interim director of the Sammamish Symphony in 1999. Along with conducting the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra, Dr. Bowen is the bassoonist with a local woodwind quintet and saxophonist with the Redmond swing band Sophisticated Swing.

Our Board of Directors

  • Katie Bristow Myers, President
  • Joan Griswold, Vice President
  • Denise Larson, Secretary
  • Jun Chung through October 2022; Meng Seah filling remainder of term, Treasurer
  • Vera Risdon, Personnel Manager
  • Judith Inkley Beatie, Member at Large
  • Stan Gunno, Member at Large
  • Nancy Mariano, Member at Large
  • Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll, Music Director/Conductor

Statement of Nondiscrimination

The IPO does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender or gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.