About Us
The Seattle Mandolin Orchestra exists to preserve, promote, and extend America’s mandolin ensemble tradition. Featuring the entire mandolin family of instruments, including mandolin, mandola, mandocello, and mandobass, the orchestra offers an opportunity for musicians of any skill level to serve the Puget Sound community through performance, recordings, outreach, musical instruction, and publishing.

The Seattle Mandolin Orchestra is dedicated to revitalizing the mandolin ensemble and expanding its repertoire through commissions and arrangements. The orchestra's repertoire encompasses baroque, classical, jazz, and folk traditions.

It has been our pleasure to host and present to Northwest audiences many of the finest mandolin soloists and ensembles, including Carlo Aonzo and Elena Buttiero, Mike Marshall, Josh Pinkham, Evan Marshall, Duo LaRe (Chris Acquavella and Nate Jarrell), Joe Craven, Duo Capriccioso (Gertrud and Michael Troester), Richard Walz and Mari Tomizuka, Andre St. Clivier, Joan Martin Woodward, the Helsinki Mandoliners from Finland, and the Bavarian and Hessian state mandolin orchestras from Germany. In 2010 we hosted the 24th annual convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA).

The present group was founded in 1983 by mandolinist Tom Moran. Eleanor Setterberg described our early years in this 1986 article for the Fretted Instrument Guild of America, while Jim Feroe recounts some of the history of other local mandolin groups in this 1991 article published by CMSA. There were also earlier mandolin orchestras in Seattle, during the golden age of the mandolin (1880–1925). One of these groups was led by composer, arranger, and soloist Carleton Ostrander.

Photo of an all-Gibson mandolin group by Seattle photographer Alfred Witter, ca. 1915 (courtesy Jim Garber).
Seattle Mandolin Orchestra, 1925, by La Pine Rogers, Seattle (courtesy Steve Millican). Back row, center, with glasses: Carl Lundberg. Back row, far right, with guitar: E. Ross McCarthy (Carty). Second row, far left, seated: Maybelle Whelan.
Seattle Mandolin Orchestra, circa 1985 (courtesy Andrew Booker). Back row: Back row: Julie, Leslie, Susan, Jim Feroe, Eleanor Setterberg, Don Setterberg. Front row: Tom Moran, Andrew Booker, John Overby, Charlie.
Seattle Mandolin Orchestra, 1989 (courtesy Andrew Booker). Back row: ?, John Overby, Don Setterberg, Joy Caney, Alexander Eppler, Alan Jacobson, Dennis Burkhardt, Jim Noyes. Front row: Marcie Glicksman, Ken Carlson, Jim Feroe, Andrew Booker, Esperanza ?, Kate Jacobson, Eleanor Setterberg.