The ‘Iolani School Orchestra program is one of the finest in the state of Hawai‘i. The orchestra is made up of students who start their orchestral playing as early as the fourth grade in regular classes and even earlier with our Suzuki program.

The top orchestra presents an annual concerto concert, which features outstanding senior student soloists.

The program presently has 190 students enrolled in the five Upper School orchestras and 75 in the three Lower School groups. The groups have performed in California and New York, as well as London, Sydney and Tokyo. In December of 2011, the top orchestra was invited to perform at The Midwest International Conference and Clinic in Chicago -- the only school orchestra from the state of Hawai'i ever to be so honored in the 65 years of The Midwest Clinic. The same group was selected by audition to perform at the London Invitational Concert Series in 2013. All of the orchestras perform in many concerts in Honolulu throughout the school year. Recently, the Middle School Orchestra placed first in the nation in the 2010 American String Teachers Association National Competition in Santa Clara, Calif., and again in 2013 when the group traveled to Providence, Rhode Island.

Students audition for placement in the various orchestras and are chosen by their ability rather than grade level. Wind and percussion students are added to the string groups to perform standard symphonic repertoire. Students have the opportunity to begin learning a string instrument at any age, in any grade. There are many opportunities for pianists in the orchestra program. Many orchestra students also excel at debate, science, math and athletics.

Contact with professional musicians through private instruction, coaching and clinics provide an opportunity for our students to develop their skills as much as possible. An extensive chamber music program, partially supported by the school's Tam & Young Arts Chair,  presently includes 10 string quartets and a small ensemble.

'Iolani is always ready to give back to the wider community, by making facilities available for music evenes that are open to and benefit students from 'Iolani as well as from other schools: the Hawai'i Suzuki Institute, HASTA Junior Festival Orchestra, and many special events featuring guest artists such as master fiddler Alastair Fraser, the Cavani Quartet, Interpreti Veneziani, the violin rock band Barrage, Grammy award winner Daniel Ho, and many more.