Professional Studio Southeast Portland, Oregon

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Professional letters of recommendation concerning Collin’s conducting experience are easily available upon request, which are not included herein.

Collin loves to conduct and teach. Whether by the baton or bow, Collin seeks to instill a fun learning experience which stimulates further ideals for growth. He enjoys celebrating accomplishments, and providing examples of the work required for a creative path forward. Musicians he has worked with have expressed fond memories expressed below, which have been sincerely appreciated.

              ›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹››~~≈Artistic Director/Conductor≈~~‹‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹

December 16, 2023

Mr. Heade, 

We really enjoyed the concert! 

It was truly impressive and so great to get to know such a wonderful orchestra you have been conducting! 

When the choir sings Thankful, I was so moved and was so thankful to have you as my cello teacher!

I was so proud I’m your student! 

And I thought of sharing your video. 

Hope you have a Merry Christmas! 



December 11, 2023


Thank you for this heartwarming message! (referring to a congratulatory letter for previous evenings concert from the conductor).  As a JSV parent, let me say that your work with the JSV musicians is so greatly appreciated.  It is hard work!  You bring out the best in the kids!  Saturday's concert was the best ever!  I'm so happy to see the group growing and the church and parking lot filled to the brim!  The kids sounded fabulous and your leadership is the biggest piece of that.  Thank you for a wonderful evening!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Jen Anderson

Brian Anderson's mom


April 10, 2020

Dear Mr. Heade,

My school year has been canceled as of this week (due to the covo19 virus), so there won’t be a chance for me to ever see the orchestra or work with them again.

I would like to thank everyone but especially you for allowing me that experience for four years. Each year I was so excited to work another performance. I got great experience and practice in a professional setting while having the freedom to have fun with some amazing and easy to work with people. I will forever cherish the nights I spent designing lighting and listening to the beautiful music.

Thank you so much for everything you gave me, best of luck as the (WCYO) orchestra continues.

Best Wishes, Olivia (graduating LHS student)

                         Stage & Lighting Technician 



May 8, 2017

Hi Mr. Heade,

The concert was amazing!!! All my families and friends were so impressed and that they kept telling me what a excellent performance it was! Although I have heard the music many times---You can tell that every week I really enjoy sitting in the back of our rehearsal room listening ----I was still thrilled by the concert. I really feel the power of the orchestra, which magnifies the power of a single piece of music thousands times, brings me to a fun and magic world. I am so proud and feel so lucky that Maggie is in this excelled team and I want to thank you and the whole team for all the help. 

I can see the changes in Maggie during the past 3 months. WCYO inspires her interest in classical music. We used to listen to the random music station on the car. After she joined WCYO, Maggie ALWAYS turns on to All Classical Portland and listens to the classical music and orchestra performance. WCYO also gives her confidence. As I said before, she is extremely shy and "is not good at communicating with people" (Maggie's words).  Her hobbies include painting, reading and piano which was done by herself. Now she is learning how to fit into a group of youth, adults and seniors.  She was a little bit nervous when she was invited to the cello group practice at Phyllis' house. Later she told me that cellist group gave her so many suggestions and encouragement and she enjoyed the practice very much.  WCYO even gave Maggie the free summer lesson opportunities. What a surprise to us! Michael talked to my husband, sent me the application and followed up with me to make sure the form is correctly filled in. He is such a kind person.

I am glad I sent WCYO an email 3 months ago and I appreciate that you gave her a try at that time. Thank you for the tips of organizing the music before the rehearsal and helping to make sure she had stand light and tuning the cello before the concert.

We are looking forward to our 2017-2018 program season!

Thank you,

Lin Ma

April 13, 2017

Hi Collin!

Nice note to the orchestra. I thought it all went very well. Thank you for doing such a great job, especially with all the extra work that went with the soloists.

There was a great deal of positive discussion at the board meeting Tuesday night about this concert, and I thank you all for your contribution. You helped to make it a fun and memorable event, especially for our soloists and audience.

Personally, I consider it a gift to us. Trust is the key, and I sensed that once we began to trust your lead, and you began to trust that we would follow, everything started to come together. Well done!

Most sincerely, Bill Britton

                             Orchestra President


Jan 15, 2016 (Guest rehearsal conductor:)

Hi Collin,

I wanted to let you know how much everyone appreciated the work you did with us yesterday. Everyone was really impressed! One of our new people told me after the rehearsal: “I really like this director!” And when we were all hanging out at the pub afterwards we all agreed this was the best and most productive rehearsal of this cycle. Your time management, the musicality (and clarity of the beat) you brought to both the Brahms and the Franck, the helpful notes, that was all very well done.

Thanks again Collin!

Lucie Zálešáková



On Dec 13, 2015:

I'm Alexa's mom and I want to thank you so much for another beautiful concert! You have created a wonderful orchestra and your passion and vision have ignited and inspired not only all the performers but the whole audience! Thank you for including The Messiah pieces. Our family is very grateful for people like you who include this music that for us, brings an unmistakable spiritual presence which is the true Spirit of Christmas.

My niece was in the choir and she said she and her fellow singers were so pumped and inspired!

Thank goodness for people like you who share their time and talents with the community so voluntarily! You make the world a better place.

Valerie Knaupp, mother of Alexa, 1st violin, WCYO


It was nice to finally meet you. I had a wonderful time. You're so enthusiastic, and inspiring, flamboyant and entertaining. It's nice to see someone who values our American history, and our veterans, the importance of community, making good music, involving all ages and inspiring youth. 


You're easy to follow, and have a clear conducting style. I hope I was able to make a contribution to the overall sound of the viola section.


Have a great summer.

Virgie Daigle

(Portland Violist)


When I joined the orchestra many years ago, I carpooled with a few people from the Beaverton area. Not only did it help financially, but it also was much safer to travel with other people. But, as time went on, I grew to enjoy the orchestra so much that even when my schedule didn't allow me to carpool, I continued to join the orchestra whenever I could and drove alone.

The concerts have always been well attended and supported, and I believe that the community isn't quite aware of how lucky they are. The musical programming is so fresh and new. While I play principal second violin for the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra, I have also participated in the Jewish Community Orchestra and other area groups as well. Nobody has been able to touch this kind of creative programming -- the themes that tie the pieces together and new music that I have never played before (traditional and modern). After all of the performing I have done, I have never seen an audience applause so heartily and stand in ovation so quickly. The beauty in the programming has made it so that I, as a performer, usually participate in groups because I simply love music. The one thing that is so different about the North Oregon Coast Symphony is that they do something differently; they are there to bring music that they love to the audience. The music is to the audience, for the audience, and about the audience.

I work in the music industry in the Portland area, and my boss is a viola player for the Portland Opera. He goes because he gets a check when he performs. When I tell him that I need to leave work early to make it to a rehearsal or performance at the beach, he always asks how much I am getting paid for this performance. He doesn't understand being emotionally bound to the music and to the people who come together to perform it. Sometimes, his comments eat at me as I sit in Portland traffic trying to get through the tunnel on Highway 26. I stew and beat the options in my mind off and on during the drive. But, the moment I get through the door everyone has been nothing but nice, thankful, and inviting to me. I have made many wonderful friends, and I quickly remember the reason why I am there. The small allowances have been so helpful whenever I have performed. I am a single mother of four daughters who are all musical as well. I could not participate without this kind of help to drive to rehearsals and performances.

Another thing that makes NOCS stand out is the participation of young orchestra members who are students in the school system. The mentorship they receive is invaluable, and their youth and vitality bring a level of energy to the orchestra that I haven't seen anywhere else. 

Very Sincerely,

Heather Case

(Portland Violinist/Violist)


If you have a successor here, he will have some big shoes to fill.


I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts on our behalf - I have never known a musical director who worked as hard, with such passion, and with such a generous spirit.  You provided me the inspiration and context to grow as a player, for which I am deeply grateful. 


Thank you so much. You will be missed - I hope we meet again on our musical journey.



Scott Wagner

(Principal Trumpet, Nehalem, OR)


I joined the symphony to play the harp.  I stayed for 8 years because of Collin Heade. 

Very few are as supportive, enthusiastic, dedicated, committed or understanding as Collin.  I have played under a few batons over the years, and have discovered that it is not worth the upset to play under an ill-tempered or arrogant conductor.  I quit one orchestra because of one of those conductors: I did not gossip or natter about the man, I just exercised my right to not have to be there.

That being said, the symphony is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship, and with Collin it was a benevolent one.  He chose music that we had requested when possible, he chose music that would incorporate as many of the musicians as possible (a big plus for a harpist), he arranged rehearsals so that the instruments that were only needed for a few pieces could either come late or leave early (much appreciated, Collin!) and so many times when things got difficult he found a positive or constructive thing to say rather than an unkind response.  The music was not always easy, but always beautiful.  He challenged us and we got better.

I am not sure of my status as of this moment, but like Donna, I have questioned my continued participation and considered leaving the symphony. But I have the summer to consider this.

Collin, kudos and cartloads of flowers are not enough to thank you.  Wish you nothing but the best.  I will miss you.

Cheri Walker

(Harpist, Long Beach, WA)


Congratulations on another crowd-pleasing performance by all of you. Conductor Heade was his usual humorous, interesting and talented self, providing such an array of physical visual effects to follow during each composition. And the choice of music! Wow, not the usual pieces you know by heart but rather the kind demanding attention to nuance and evoking a sense of anticipation that keeps one focused.

Bravo, friends. Bravo.

Chuck and Barbara McLaughlin

(Audience Members)


Collin, I will miss you greatly.  I have to tell you that I have never worked with a conductor who was as supportive, inspiring and encouraging to the orchestra members as you have been.  Nor have I worked with a conductor who put so much of his/her heart and soul into the music and the group as you have. You always were supportive to the musicians and constructive in your suggestions. I have been playing in orchestras - both professional and non-professional for over 30 years and I don't think I have ever worked with a conductor as supportive, patient, and kind in his dealings with the orchestra members as you have been.

I also want to thank you for your support and encouragement to my son Johnny.  Playing with you and NOCS was an amazing experience for him and one that we both were looking forward to doing again. I am not sure what we will do at this point.

I wish you all the best in your future studies.  It would be wonderful to play music together again sometime - maybe some cello and flute pieces.  Hopefully our paths will cross again and if you ever need a flutist for anything you are doing, please call on me!

All of my best to you and Cami,

Shelley Loring

(Principal Flute, Astoria, OR)




(To whom it may concern:)

I take great pleasure in recommending Collin Heade to you for the position of artistic director/conductor. I am a member of the board of directors of the Willamette Falls Symphony and one of Collin’s private cello students, so I have come to know him well. 

Collin is not only the principal cellist of the Willamette Falls Symphony, but as our associate conductor he is one of the forces that drives it. WFS is a community orchestra of some 60 players and more than 30 years’ standing. Collin has been with us for many of those years, leading sections, recruiting players, and conducting regularly. He conducts with vigor and a bone-deep connection to the music. He researches each piece he conducts; he listens to recordings of other orchestras performing the numbers; he comes prepared and on time. He connects with each player in the course of a rehearsal and knows most of them either personally or professionally. He’s a gentle taskmaster, expecting the best the orchestra can give. 

Collin is a founder and the conductor of the Westside Community and Youth Orchestra, with which I have personally performed under his direction. I have been impressed with his knowledge of music, but also with his ability to teach and encourage as he conducts. He is loved by his players regardless of their ages or their levels of ability. Collin turns every performance into a solid win for everyone. 

As his cello student I can attest to Collin’s formidable grasp of repertoire and technique. He is a gifted teacher who somehow manages to coax music out of 

my aging fingers. He presents himself at all times as a professional, but also as a warm, personable man with a sense of humility and good humor about him. 

Collin has taken every opportunity to further his abilities as a conductor and performer. He attends national seminars and workshops nearly every year. Twice he has toured Europe with a Portland-based ensemble. Two years ago he took over the Vancouver Youth Symphony at a moment’s notice when its conductor unexpected passed away. He also performs regularly with at least two chamber ensembles in the area. If Collin has a fault, it is in over- involvement, just like most of the other professional musicians I know. 

The Portland area would lose one of its truly dedicated and talented musicians should Collin decide to leave us. But I can do no less than give him my highest recommendation and assure you that should you hire this man you will have no regrets. He will make you proud. 

Sincerely yours, 

Janet M. Anderson
Secretary, Board of Directors

Willamette Falls Symphony


July 22, 2014 

To Whom It May Concern, 

I am writing in support of Mr. Collin Heade’s application. I have known Mr. Heade for seven years, first when he was a private cello teacher to my daughter in junior high school, and later, as conductor/ artistic director of the North Oregon Coast Symphony (NOCS) in Astoria, Oregon. I served on the board of directors of the symphony (2011-2013) and also was a cellist during his tenure with the symphony. Although Astoria is a small community of approximately 10,000 residents, it enjoys a very strong support locally and regionally for the arts, especially symphonic music. It is my understanding that Mr. Heade is looking for an opportunity to expand his conducting skills within a larger metropolitan area. 

To address important qualifications for the job position, I would like to emphasize that Mr. Heade is an accomplished musician and conductor who has worked with a wide variety of professional and semi-professional musicians in Western Oregon and Washington. As a cello teacher for students of all ages, he is disciplined and organized, and very patient, with an ability to adapt his teaching style to individual needs. He is strongly oriented to community involvement and puts much effort into outreach to schools and regional arts groups. 

As conductor and artistic director of the North Oregon Coast Symphony and Astoria Chamber Ensemble for eight years, Mr. Heade helped to establish and elevate these new music groups as recognized and respected partners in the regional arts community. In this capacity, he directed all aspects of the orchestra and chamber groups, including repertoire selection, programming, choice of guest artists, artistic production and

musician appointments. He worked closely with the Symphony board and staff, which involved extensive travel and logistical planning, and participated in development of grant proposals and funding implementation. 

Mr. Heade brings a strong cadre of interpersonal skills to his endeavors, combined with strong leadership and communication abilities. Foremost among his strengths is the ability to make the symphonic experience fun and rewarding for diverse musician and audience groups. Rehearsals led by Mr. Heade are fast-paced and focused, with flexible format suited to different groups. 

In summary, I believe that Mr. Heade has the drive, energy and skills to be successful in this position, and I hope he will have the opportunity to demonstrate his talents. 

Sincerely, Catherine L. Rose 

                       ›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹››~~≈Cello Instruction≈~~‹‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹›-‹

August 8, 2023

When my family moved to Washington, I was a 10-year-old cellist with barely a year of playing experience. Within a matter of weeks we found Mr. Collin Heade, and he has been my teacher ever since. Because of Mr. Heade, I have reached levels I never thought possible, including principal cellist of the top orchestra in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and their advanced string ensemble MYSfits, as well as opportunities with professional musicians such as Kenji Bunch, A Far Cry, and Nancy Ives. Similarly, Mr. Heade has equipped me with thorough and thoughtful advice as I pursue a career in music education. 

Because of all of these incredible experiences, it is with a huge amount of enthusiasm that I recommend Mr. Collin Heade. His structured yet flexible lesson plans have made huge amounts of repertoire possible, and his sense of humor has helped me through many tough spots. His musical intuition, partly stemming from his career as a composer and singer, is always useful as I navigate melodic phrases. Additionally, Mr. Heade does an incredible job at getting to the root of troublesome musical passages, breaking things down while building me up as I try to reach that level. Most importantly, Mr. Heade does an incredible job of keeping his focus on caring for me, not just how I play. He is always interested in my week, and often ready to share a listening ear and snippet of wisdom. Ultimately, Mr. Heade is the perfect balance of excellence-pursuing and compassion. I cannot recommend him enough. 

Catherine Hartrim-Lowe


For several seasons I have attended performances of the Oregon Chamber Players and enjoyed the concerts, especially the strings.  The cellos have been my favorite instruments in every piece.  A few months ago I decided to take up the cello and sought out references for an instructor; I spoke with the most favorably mentioned instructor and made arrangements to begin lessons.

It took me several weeks of lessons to realize that the cello player whose music was a factor in my decision to take up the instrument is my very pleasant, patient and excellent teacher.  My beginner's anxiety and my tendency to forget names, coupled with the fact that it simply never occurred to me that a musician of his caliber might actually teach middle-aged beginners, explains my failure to recognize him as the performer whose music I have enjoyed on several occasions over the past few years.



(Adult Student)


I had always had a love of music and a deep fondness for the beauty of the cello, but at 44 years old, I had real trepidation at the prospect of taking on a project such as "learning" the cello (the quotation marks are there because learning is a process and never completed!) I had every reason to be apprehensive.  The cello is a difficult instrument to study.  I believe that finding a professional instructor is the most important task for a beginning musician.

I began lessons with Collin in December of 2000, and have remained his student since then.  Collin truly has the heart and soul of a musician, has accomplished so much musically himself and yet possesses such high respect and regard for his students and their unique learning styles and abilities.  He truly nurtures each student at their level while challenging their capabilities.  His patience is extraordinary, his methods innovative, and I feel he honors the goals I set for myself as a musician who is just beginning to find my own voice.  Learning has been a joyful experience and I'm grateful to Collin for his technical abilities, his kind and caring personality, and his sharing of his talents with his students.


(Adult Student)