Musician Profiles

Christopher Olka

Principal Tuba of the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera, Christopher Olka has had a wide and varied career in music before coming to Seattle. His Orchestral experience includes Maestro Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra, substitute tuba with the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony as well as Principal positions with the New Jersey Pops and Aspen Festival orchestras.

Before moving to Seattle, Chris was an active freelance musician in New York where he performed with many brass quintets, Dixieland bands, and most of the major orchestras in the area while completing his Masters degree at the Juilliard School.

From 1989 to 1996 he was a staff musician for the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, Florida, where he was a member of many of the bands there including the TUBAFOURS tuba quartet, the world’s only full-time professional tuba quartet.

An active soloist and advocate of solo tuba literature, Chris has performed across the country in recital and masterclass as well as soloing with orchestra, windband and various other groups including Seattle Symphony, Cascade Symphony, University of Washington Wind Ensemble, Brass Band Northwest, Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble, Rutgers University Wind Ensemble, and University of Central Florida Wind Ensemble and Orchestra.

His education includes a B.M. from the University of Central Florida, and a M.M. from the Juilliard School. During his undergraduate studies, Chris was the Winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Collegiate artist Brass Solo Competition in 1996 as well as winning the Southeastern Regional MTNA solo Competition twice and the Florida MTNA solo Competition three times. He also won the Imperial Sterling Limited solo Competition as a Senior in high school.

Currently on the School of Music faculty at the University of Washington, Chris’ teachers include Warren Deck (New York Phil. Retired), Joe Alessi (New York Phil.), and Abe Torchinsky (Philadelphia Orch. Retired).

Chris is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist.
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