For our 56th Season, the Symphony welcomes four guest conductors from around the Northwest.
Check our Music Director Search page for more information on our open Music Director position.
Armenian-American conductor Tigran Arakelyan is the newly appointed Music Director of the Northwest Mahler Festival, a summer festival for professionals, students and community musicians performing large scale works. He is also the Music Director and Conductor of Port Townsend Community Orchestra, Federal Way Youth Symphony and the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras. Previously, he was the assistant conductor of Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Northridge Youth Philharmonic and the associate conductor of Rainier Symphony. For three seasons he was a Senior Conducting Fellow with California Philharmonic which is comprised of musicians from LA Chamber Orchestra, LA Opera and other professional orchestras. Arakelyan was named a finalist for The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and is a Bronze Medal winner at the Global Music Awards. Seattle Weekly described his interpretation of Beethoven's Symphony Nr. 1 as "confident, convincing, lyrically phrased, and excellent tempo". The Armenian Mirror-Spectator called him a “Rising Star”.
Arakelyan's recent conducting engagements were with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Armenian Pops Orchestra, Centum Youth Orchestra (S. Korea), Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Inverted Space Ensemble, and innovative collaborations with the Olympic Performance Group, Evergreen Choir, and Olympic Girls' Choir. He toured South Korea twice (2014, 2017) with the Federal Way Youth Symphony conducting over a dozen concerts from Seoul to Busan. Arakelyan initiated the Bainbridge Island String Orchestra Festival (2017) with award winning violinist Andrew Joslyn and the Port Townsend Chamber Orchestra (2018).
Arakelyan was the Music Director of Whidbey Island Orchestra (WA), Lark Musical Society Youth Orchestra (CA) University of Washington Campus Philharmonia, UW Summer Orchestra and the Founder Conductor and Artistic Director of Cadence Chamber Orchestra (WA). He has been instrumental in initiating innovative collaborations with composers, soloists, visual artists, dancers, and choirs. Arakelyan helped in creating youth scholarship programs, festivals, young composer competitions, and led orchestral performances at unconventional venues.
He conducted the Pacific Northwest premiere of Paul Hindemith Kammermuzik Nr. 1. Arakelyan has also conducted the Yakima Symphony Chamber Orchestra, University of California Los Angeles Philharmonia, Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, Korean Music Association Choir (WA), U.W. Symphony, California State University Northridge Symphony, CSU Northridge Discovery Players, and the Nimbus Ensemble (CA). A strong advocate of new music, he premiered works by Iosif Andriasov, Stepan Rostomyan, Eleanor Aversa, Felipe Rossi among others. Recently, he commissioned a work by international award winning composer Yiğit Kolat.
Arakelyan played alongside Sir James Galway during his induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is a three time recipient of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Performing Arts Fellowship, Edward Hosharian Award, and the Armenian Allied Arts Competition (1st place), among others. Arakelyan participated in the Conductors Guild Workshop, Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, Idyllwild Music Festival, Dilijan Chamber Music Series, Seasons Festival Academy, and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. He conducted in masterclasses with notable conductors David Loebel, Frank Battisti, Donald Thulean, Ennio Nicotra, David Effron, Neal Stulberg, and Michael Jinbo.
Arakelyan received a Doctorate in Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Washington. His primary conducting studies are with Ludovic Morlot, David Alexander Rahbee, John Roscigno and flute studies with John Barcellona, Paul Taub, and Laura Osborn. Arakelyan played in flute masterclasses with Stephen Preston and Shigenori Kudo. Outside of conducting, he is the founder and host of Off the Podium Music Podcast where his guests are renowned musicians and artists.
William Todd Hunt
Acclaimed for the absolute artistic transport of his conducting work, William Todd Hunt was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Artistic Director of Juneau’s Orpheus Project, as well as a freelance conductor, Mr. Hunt has also appeared with Anchorage Opera, Juneau Symphony, Juneau Lyric Opera, the Taku Winds, the Amalga Chamber Orchestra, the Northern Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, the Kling Chamber Orchestra, and Thompson Street Opera (KY). He has also conducted the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in both Kroměříž and Zlín, Czech Republic as well as concerts with the new music ensemble CrossSound. He served as Assistant at the Evansville Philharmonic and has worked as an assistant with conductors Arpád Jóo, Alfred Savia, Imre Palló and David Harman, among others. Mr. Hunt served as co-founder and Music Director for Ardo Opera (IN), where he produced and conducted several productions, notably at the Bloomington Early Music Festival. Mr. Hunt was the rehearsal conductor and Chorus Master for the JSO for 11 years.
Mr. Hunt holds a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University where he studied under Imre Palló and Thomas Baldner and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance (Woodwinds) from the University of Louisville (KY). He has participated in masterclasses, seminars, and lessons in America under the guidance of such auspicious conductors as Kurt Masur, Stephen Schwartz, Raffi Armenian and Lawrence Leighton Smith. After leaving Indiana University he continued his studies in Europe where he worked with Jorma Panula, Kirk Trevor, Johannes Schlaefli, Mariusz Smolij, and Tomaš Koutnik.
With a repertoire spanning from the middle ages to new music, Mr. Hunt’s recent performances include Puccini’s Il Trittico, Madama Butterfly, Tosca and La Bohème, Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni, Bernstein’s West Side Story, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, as well as Eads’s The Princess Sophia, which he commissioned.
A native of Israel, Yaniv Attar is the 1st prize winner of the Duna Szimfonikus Conducting Competition Budapest, and the recipient of the 2010/2012 & 2014 Georg Solti Foundation US Award and the 2009 Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Award. Attar is the Music Director of the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, and Music Director of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra in Bellingham. In addition, Attar is also an Artistic Partner with Northwest Sinfonietta. Highlights of past seasons included collaborations with artists such as Alesio Bax, James Ehnes, Tine Thing Helseth, Sharon Isbin, Alex Klein, Jennifer Koh, Johannes Moser and Gil Shaham. Attar was also one of 10 conductors from around the world who were invited to INTERACTION, and conducted an orchestra composed of all of Germany’s top orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Konzerthaus Orchestra, German Symphony Orchestra, and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin. Prior to his current music directorships, Attar completed his two years residency as the Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, where he conducted nearly 100 performances, and worked extensively with Maestro Justin Brown.
Drawn to orchestral conducting from early age, Attar has studied with Israel Edelson in Jerusalem, Virginia Allen at the Juilliard School in New York and Neil Thomson at the Royal College of Music in London, where he was also the Associate Conductor and co-founder of the Tempus Chamber Orchestra. In 2008, Attar earned his Doctor of Music degree from McGill University where he studied under the tutelage of Alexis Hauser. Attar also studied with Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, Janos Fürst, Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, Johannes Schlaefli, Peter Gülke, Gabor Hollerung, Neil Varon, Carl St. Clair, David Effron, Donald Thulean and Michael Jurowski. Attar has worked with the Cincinnati Symphony, Duna Szimfonikus Budapest, Dohnanyi Orchestra Budapest, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Haifa Symphony, Hamburg Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali Milan, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian State Symphony, London Solists Chamber Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, Mihail Jora Philharmonic Romania, National Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Northwest Sinfonietta, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic , Russe Philharmonic Bulgaria, Salzburg Chamber Soloists, and Virginia Symphony.
Attar is also an accomplished classical guitarist. He has studied under Irit Even-Tov, Charles Ramirez and Sharon Isbin, for whom he served as teaching assistant at the Aspen Music Festival from 2003 to 2005. Attar was the first guitarist to win the Aviv Competition Prize in Israel and the Concerto Competition at the Juilliard School. Attar plays a 2014 Dake Traphagen Guitar. His studies have been generously supported by the America and Canada Israel Cultural Foundations, The Williamson Foundation for Music, Ronen Foundation, The Olga Forrai Foundation New York, the Morris and Beverly Baker Foundation, AVI Fellowships Switzerland, the Rislov Foundation, and the ISEF Foundation.