About Cascade Conducting

Cascade Conducting was conceived by Paula Madrigal and Teo Benson in 2017 and is officially a program of Orquesta Northwest, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Madrigal, who moved to Seattle from Guadalajara, Mexico in 2014, is artistic director of Orquesta Northwest and conductor of the Ballard Civic Orchestra, a symphony in Seattle and an official program of Orquesta Northwest. Benson is the concertmaster of the Ballard Civic Orchestra and a violinist in Symphony Tacoma. He is also the executive director of Orquesta Northwest.

Both Madrigal and Benson were inspired by Sarah Ioannides’ conducting and her passion for music. Together, the three have crafted a unique mission for Cascade Conducting: seeking to find balance between the demands of the business, and the preservation of one’s individual musicianship as a necessity to achieve excellence. In the words of Ioannides:

“I am thrilled to take this opportunity to share with conductors of all levels my experience and to have the chance to help train a new generation of conductors.

I worked with and studied at great length with many different teachers. Some broadened my conducting language and techniques, some helped me understand harmony and phrasing in a new light, and some shared great philosophical thought on the leadership role. Some prepared me for the daunting tasks of score study and how to prepare sufficiently (if there is such an end point), and others helped open new ways of listening for balance within the orchestra, stylistic interpretation, color variety and depth of dynamics. From others, I learnt how to prepare and lead rehearsals efficiently, to accompany well, an dto work with all types of musicians. I am still benefitting in my work from the endless lessons I received.

I wish to share the knowledge that has been passed on to me by great conductors. However, this course is also designed to help each individual to find their own unique and successful path as a musician and conductor.”

The first annual Cascade Composers Symposium with Symphony Tacoma composer-in-residence David Ludwig is a collaboration with Symphony Tacoma and would not be possible without the support of Symphony Tacoma.

The third annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass and first annual Cascade Composer’s Symposium at Pacific Lutheran University will feature 20 principal members of Symphony Tacoma. It is one of many events inspired by the ideas of the founding members of Cascade Conducting.