R. Lee Friese serves as Music Director and Conductor for all ensembles. He has a Master’s degree in both choral and instrumental conducting from Bowling Green University in Ohio. He has over 30 years experience in conducting and in music education. He served as Associate Conductor with the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth, Texas, Music Director and Conductor for the Walla Walla Symphony, and was Founding Conductor and Music Director of the Oregon East Symphony. Mr. Friese was one of the core founders of Inland Northwest Musicians in 1999.
Inland Northwest Musicians was founded in 1999 by a group of instrumentalists and vocalists interested in forming a classical music organization that reflected certain core values. Inland Northwest Musicians was built around these cornerstone beliefs:
Music is for everyone, regardless of income or geographic location.
Audiences everywhere deserve to share in the world’s greatest music in live performance.
All musicians, including beginners, deserve to develop their talent.
Music is a lifelong pursuit that contributes to health, well-being and a high quality of life.
A regional arts organization should truly represent and serve the region, be “owned” by and accountable to its membership.
All constituents are valued – musicians, audience members, staff, volunteers and financial contributors.
Inland Northwest Musicians abides by these core values. It is what makes us unique from any other program.
Page updated May 22, 2019
We are in our 20th year of successful operation. Inland Northwest Musicians ensembles have performed over 400 concerts in more than 50 different communities in Eastern Oregon and Southeast Washington. We ARE the only truly regional classical music organization in the Pacific Northwest.
Inland Northwest Musicians operates different performing ensembles:
Inland Northwest Orchestra – a full symphony orchestra of approximately 50 members, with rehearsals held in Pendleton.
Inland Northwest Chorale – a symphonic chorale group comprised of approximately 40 singers, with rehearsals held in Pendleton.
Willow Creek Symphony – our west-oriented youth/preparatory orchestra comprised of approximately 30 members, currently rehearsing in Hermiston.
Less experienced musicians of all ages (including adults) are welcome to participate in these last two ensembles.
Most musicians performing in the various Inland Northwest Musicians ensembles are volunteers. They donate their time and talent to participate. Many drive long distances to attend rehearsals and concerts. Musicians are drawn to each of our ensembles from throughout our vast service area.