The history of the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra is tied to the Sammamish Symphony.  The Sammamish Symphony was founded by Joyce Cunningham and Mary Weglage.  The Sammamish Symphony originally rehearsed at Providence Point in Issaquah, Washington.  The original conductor and music director for the group was Gail M. Brothers.  Under the direction of Gail M. Brothers, a memorial concert was given for Mary Weglage on Sunday, May 31st 1998.

Dr. Duane Bowen served as the Interim Director of the Sammamish Symphony during the search for a permanent conductor.  In 1999, R. Joseph Scott became the Music Director and Conductor of the Sammamish Symphony.  When the Sammamish Symphony left Providence Point to become a semi-professional orchestra, Joyce suggested to Duane that a reading group, where musicians read music for their own enjoyment, continue at Providence Point.  Joyce generously donated her music library to this group and Dr. Bowen served as the first conductor.

The reading group at Providence Point grew into the Issaquah Chamber Orchestra and 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.  By 2010, the group had grown to the point of no longer being a chamber ensemble.  The name was changed in 2010 to become the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra.

On February 17, 2012, the Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra became a 501C3 Non-profit Corporation.  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 to 2016
  • Dr. Duane Bowen 2016 to present


Our Concert Masters

  • Nona Martin 2003-2006
  • Mary Louise Davis 2006-2007
  • Darlene Rose 2007- 2015
  • Hans Klein 2015
  • Darlene Rose 2015 to present


Our Music Director/Conductor – Dr. Duane Bowen

Duane photo

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

  • President – June Allison
  • Vice President – Meng Seah
  • Secretary – Denise Larson
  • Treasurer – Emily Krebill
  • Personnel – Matthew Perkins
  • Concertmaster – Darlene Rose
  • Conductor – Dr. Duane Bowen
  • Member-at-Large – Ratchford Higgins
  • Member-at-Large – Hans Klein