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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences School of Music


During this era of COVID-19, the only constant in music education has been the need for flexibility and understanding from teachers, students, parents, administrations, and everyone involved in music making. We cannot yet say what August will look like in our schools and music rooms, but we know that it will be quite a while before we ever return to anything we can consider normal. As your schools and programs are struggling to find the best way to serve your students and communities safely, so too are the faculty and administrators at Washington State University.

The opportunity to interact closely with instrumental teachers and students from all around the region is a highlight of each semester here at WSU and so it is with a very heavy heart that we must formally announce the cancellation of our Orchestra Festival, CMB Band Day, and WSU Marching Band Championships. We can see no scenario where we could host hundreds or thousands of students at our facilities while ensuring the safety of them, their teachers and families, and the WSU faculty involved. Although we will continue to explore virtual ways to work with you and your students, we look forward to continuing these great festivals in 2021.

Please continue to let us know how we can serve your programs, and keep us informed as to the different ways you’re able to teach music within the guidelines set forth by your schools and districts. During this difficult time, we would love to be able to share best practices with other educators as well as our future music teachers currently studying.

We wish you, your families, and your students a healthy summer and safe return to school.


Dr. Danh Pham, Orchestra Conductor and Director of Bands
Dr. Troy Bennefield, Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands


The WSU Symphony Orchestra studies, rehearses, performs and reviews original works and transcriptions for symphony orchestra. In addition to performing as a full orchestra, the orchestra divides at times to perform opera, theatre and chamber orchestral works. Each year a student concerto competition is held and the orchestra often performs with high profile guest performers and composers. The WSU Symphony Orchestra provides rehearsal and performance experiences that will assist students in their preparation for careers as performers, teachers, engineers, technicians, managers, composers and lifelong practitioners of music.

Course Goals:

  1. Develop group performance skills in the areas of intonation, blend, balance, phrasing, articulation, and rhythm.
  2. Develop awareness and execution of proper stylistic and performance practices of orchestral repertoire from the Baroque, Classic, Romantic, 20th, and 21st century time periods.
  3. Develop excellent habits of preparation and rehearsing as a member of a performing ensemble.
  4. Develop concert performance abilities that include artistic execution, poise, focus, and etiquette.
  5. Know a broad base of composers who have composed high quality original works for orchestra.
  6. Learn basic elements about the process of composing for orchestra from contact with living composers and the writings of the past.
  7. Develop a greater awareness of high artistic standards through contact with guest artists and performances at professional conventions.
  8. Learn a sense of camaraderie that develops from supporting and working with other musicians.
  9. Learn the ability to interpret physical gestures of conductors and transfer those gestures into musical sounds.
  10. Critique and review live performances in a written format.
  11. Gain awareness and acceptance of the variety of roles that exist within an ensemble and the ability to carry out one’s own role.
Music Director:

Danh PhamDanh Pham is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Washington State University. He conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and serves as the Coordinator of Instrumental Music Education within the University’s School of Music and liason to the College of Education.

Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, he received his degrees from DePauw University, Indiana University, and the University of Oklahoma, where he studied conducting with Ray Cramer, Stephen Pratt, and William Wakefield. Prior to his appointment at Washington State University, Pham held similar posts at McMurry University, Western Oregon University, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, and the Beaverton (OR) School District.

Pham has appeared as a guest conductor and clinician at several region honor bands throughout Texas, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. His ensembles have appeared at the Oregon Music Education Association State Conference (twice), the MENC Biennial Northwest Conference, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Southwest Convention, and the Texas University Interscholastic League State (UIL) Marching Contest.

Pham has been part of several commissioning projects, including those of composer Kevin Walczyk. He was an integral part in organizing Walczyk’s Symphony No. 2 “Epitaphs Unwritten” which was recently awarded the National Band Association William Revelli Memorial Composition award. Pham is also a contributing Research Associate for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series released by GIA Publications.


Regular Rehearsals: Tuesday and Thursday 3:10 – 5:00 in Kimbrough, Room B-48

Contact Danh Pham with any questions.