Grant Donnellan, the conductor of the North Sound Youth Symphony since 2010, is professor of violin and string pedagogy at Western Washington University. An active performer in solo, orchestral and chamber music, Grant is a member of the Bellingham Festival Orchestra, which performs at the Bellingham Festival of Music, and is Concert Master of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has performed in European Tours and on recordings as a member of the American Sinfonietta. As a conductor, he has directed the Whatcom Symphony, the WWU Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, the Ferndale Summer Pops Orchestra and numerous State Honor Orchestras. Grant brings to the Symphony a wealth of orchestral experience, a quest for excellence, a passion for teaching and a love of music.
The Symphony is a place for advanced students to find challenge and community in performing classics of the full orchestral repertoire as well as new works by contemporary composers. Each year, select members are featured in solo performance with the Symphony and are encouraged to audition for this special opportunity.
Audition Requirements to be a member of the Symphony
Members of the Symphony are required to have a minimum of 3 years of private instruction or commensurate school ensemble participation. Violin players must perform a three octave A major and minor scale, viola, cello and bass players must perform a three octave D major and minor scale. Each string player must also perform a one octave scale of their choice demonstrating spicatto bowing – four strokes per pitch. Each player must also perform a solo piece of their choice. Wind and Brass players must be able to play two octave chromatic scales in concert C and F, plus a piece of their choice. Percussion requirements include being able to read music in standard notation and knowing how to play snare drum and bass drum. Piano skills are an asset. New members wishing to join the North Sound Youth Symphony are invited to come and play in the first rehearsal of each term to see if NSYS is the right place for them. If they wish to become a NSYS member, the conductors will listen to them audition and seat them accordingly. Students may challenge a seating position by audition. Students wishing to move up from Philharmonia to Symphony must play an audition for a panel of conductors and coaches to demonstrate that they are at the appropriate playing level. Seating within the sections is determined by the conductor.
Auditions are usually held three times a year before the first rehearsal of each season.