Teo Benson, violin I
Irina Shpigelman, violin II
Gretchen Nicole Yanover, cello
Baltazar Juarez, principal harp player at the Mexican National Symphony
Josefa Madrigal, dancer
Founded in 2019, Orquesta Northwest is the culmination of three programs that have developed over the last thirteen years.
In the beginning, Young Strings Outreach (YSO), formerly Young Strings Project Outreach, launched in 2006 as a platform to provide underprivileged youth with free instruction on classical string instruments. Initiatives from YSO expanded outside of Seattle to provide opportunities for youth in Mexico. After the expansion of YSO, the Ballard Civic Orchestra (BCO) was founded in 2015 to provide adult professional and amateur musicians an opportunity to perform classical music with an emphasis on Latinx artists for the Seattle community. In 2017, an opportunity arose for a conducting program designed to find balance between the demands of the business and the preservation of one’s individual musicianship as a necessity to achieve excellence. This began the founding of Cascade Conducting which exists to provide conductors with the skills they need moving forward into a career in today’s world.
Guided by these three individual programs – Young Strings Outreach, Ballard Civic Orchestra, and Cascade Conducting – they have now been brought together under the newly-established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Orquesta Northwest as of June 2019.
Music Director, Paula Madrigal was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she studied and worked until coming to Seattle in 2014. She is passionate about classical music. As a cellist, teaching artist, professional musician, and orchestra conductor, she has created and participated in numerous projects, providing classical music experiences, mostly free of charge, to promote inclusion and intercultural understanding. After arriving in Seattle, she received a Youth Arts grant from the Office of Arts & Culture to launch the World Youth Orchestra program for underserved immigrant and refugee youth. In 2015, Ms. Madrigal co-founded the Ballard Civic Orchestra whose programs celebrate Latino cultural heritage. Pursuing her career goals as a conductor, she has received awards from Seattle’s Univision and Latino Community Fund. Most recently, she co-founded the annual Cascade Conducting Master Class featuring Artistic Director Sarah Ioannides of Symphony Tacoma. Paula is currently the music director and conductor of Orquesta Northwest. In 2020, she was nominated for the Mayor Artist Award of Seattle.
For free music classes, register at orquestanw.org
As part of our virtual programming, we encourage audience members to donate directly to artists, or organizations of the artist choosing. Please direct donations for Orquesta Northwest to their website.