Vancouver Symphony Orchestra USA | Meet the Symphony

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Meet the Symphony




This year The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra celebrates thirty-seven years of providing symphonic music to the community. Its success is due to the talent and commitment of the early conductors and musicians who provided its foundation. In the beginning, a collection of talented men and women in Southwest Washington belonged to and performed with several musical groups who loved to play for people who appreciated music.


In 1972 several musicians came together under the leadership of Larry Hirtzel. The first concert they played was at Clark College in a combined program with the college band under the direction of Dale Beacock. After that, Hirtzel's group became a standalone, twenty-member ensemble which came to be known as the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra and later the Vancouver Community Orchestra. Recordings made in 1977 of concerts in tandem with the Brahms Singers (now “Vancouver U.S.A. Singers”) have preserved the final performances of the VCO. To name all of the early period musicians who first performed under the mantle of the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra is impossible, but Larry Hirtzel, their music director and conductor, was instrumental in growing the popularity of chamber music in the area. He and the musicians in the group combined their considerable musical abilities and their innate skills in ways that allowed the chamber platform to eventually become a symphony organization called the Vancouver Community Orchestra.


In 1978, Walt Cleland began meeting with a group of five string musicians who later combined with musicians from the Vancouver Community Orchestra and came together as the Vancouver Symphonette – later renamed The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Cleland served as conductor from 1978 to 1990.


harp playerThe Vancouver Symphony Orchestra first performed at the Columbia Arts Center, then the First Presbyterian Church and Shumway School (now the Royal Durst Theatre). Since 1999 they have performed in the concert hall at Skyview High School.


We applaud Cleland's passion for music, his dedication and mission to keep symphonic music alive in Southwest Washington. He was the driving force that sustained our symphony.


In 1990 Mr. Cleland retired, and after a season of several guest conductors, Maestro Salvador Brotons was chosen to lead The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He has built it into a highly regarded, professional orchestra with over 75 musicians and an ever-increasing audience.


Conductor and Music Director
Dr. Salvador Brotons

photo montage of Maestro Salvador Brotons





What more can be written about the remarkable career of Salvador Brotons? In his 25th season as Music Director and Conductor of The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, musicians and classical music enthusiasts still delight in having Dr. Brotons lead them.

He was born in Barcelona into a family of musicians. He studied flute with his father and continued his musical studies at the Barcelona Music Conservatory where he earned advanced degrees in flute, composition and conducting.


In 1985 he won a Fulbright scholarship and moved to the US where he obtained a doctorate in music from Florida State University.

This is Maestro Salvador Brotons’ 25th Season with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.


As a composer, he has written more than 130 pieces, mostly orchestral and chamber works, and has won major composition awards, including the Premio Orquesta Nacional de España (1977), for his Cuatro Piezas para Cuerdas, the Jove d’Or prize (1980), the Premio Ciutat de Barcelona (in 1983 for his first symphony, and in 1986 for his piece Absències (for narrator and orchestra), Southeastern Composers League Award for his Sinfonietta da Camera (1986), the Madison University Flute Choir Composition Award (1987) for his Flute Suite and the Premio Reina Sofia de Composición (1991) for his piece Virtus for Orchestra. He has also received many commissions.

Many of his works have been published and recorded in several CDs in Europe and in the US for labels such as Naxos, EMI, Auvidis, Naxos, Albany Records, Keys, Harmonia Mundi and RNE.

He has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica de las Islas Baleares Ciudad de Palma (1997-2001, 2009-2013) and the Orquestra Sinfónica del Vallés (1997-2002). As conductor and music director of The VSO, he has received the Arts Council Award by Clark County and the City of Vancouver (remove space here), as well as the Kiwanis Rose Award (2005). At present he is the Conductor of the Barcelona Symphonic Band.

Beside the U.S. and Spain, he has guest conducted orchestras internationally in Israel, France, Germany, China, Poland, South Korea, Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia.

Currently, he combines a busy schedule as a conductor and composer of a number of commissions of various genres. Since 2001 he has been a Professor of Composition and Orchestra Conducting at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC). Dr. Brotons resides in Barcelona with his wife, Dr. Melissa Brotons, renowned music therapist and Director of the inter-university Master’s in Music Therapy in Barcelona. Their daughter, Clara, is a college student in New York.


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Maestro Brotons, conducting

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Members


  1. Violin 1
  2. Concertmaster
  3. Eva Richey
    Associate Concertmaster
  4. Stephen Shepherd
  5. Assistant Concertmaster
  6. Heather Mastel-Lipson

  7. Don Power
  8. Kirsten Norvell
  9. Matt Mandrones
  10. Elizabeth O'Mara
  11. Ricki Hisaw
    Viet Block
    Travis Chapman
    Elizabeth Doty
    Carol Kirkman
    Eri Nogueira
  1. Violin 2
  2. Principal
    Tracie Andrusko
  3. Assistant Principal
    Sara Pyne

  4. Diana Taylor-Williams
  5. Maria Powell
  6. Lisa Hanson
  7. Joan Hamilton
  8. Denise Uhde-Freisen
  9. Carolyn Shefler
  10. Lanette Shepherd
    Olivia Meyers
  1. Viola
  2. Principal
    Angelike Furtwangler

  3. Brenda Liu
  4. Jim Garrett
  5. Emalie Berdahl
    Jeremy Waterman
    Keeley McMurry
    Jean Mastaler
  1. Cello
  2. Principal
    Dieter Ratzlaf
  3. Assistant Principal
    Erin Winemiller

  4. Ashley Peck
  5. Suzanne Rague
  6. Annie Harkey-Power
    Hanna Hillebrand
  1. Bass
  2. Principal
    Garrett Jellesma

  3. Carl Egbert
  4. Mike Murphy
  5. Edward Sale
  1. Flute
  2. Principal
    Rachel Rencher

  3. Corrie Cook
  4. Darren Cook
  1. Piccolo
  2. Principal
    Darren Cook
  1. Oboe
  2. Principal
  3. Kris Klavik
  1. English Horn
  2. Principal
    Kris Klavik
  1. Clarinet
  2. Principal
    Igor Shakhman

    Steve Bass
    Barbara Heilmair-Tanret
  1. Bass Clarinet
  2. Principal
    Barbara Heilmair-Tanret

  1. Contrabassoon
  2. Nicole Buetti
  1. Bassoon
  2. Principal
    Margaret McShea

  3. Danielle Goldman
  1. Trumpet
  2. Principal
    Bruce B. Dunn

  3. Scott Winks
    Logan Brown
  1. Horn
  2. Principal
    Allan Stromquist

  3. Wendy Peebles
  4. James Cameron
    Dan Partridge
  1. Bass Trombone
  2. Principal
    Douglas Peebles
  1. Trombone
  2. Principal
    Greg Scholl

  3. John Northe
  1. Percussion
  2. Principal
  3. Brian Gardiner

    Isaac Rains
    Diana Hnatiw
  1. Tuba
  2. Principal
    Mark Vehrencamp
  1. Timpani
  2. Principal
    Florian Conzetti
  1. Piano/Celeste
  2. Principal
    Michael Liu
  1. Harp
  2. Principal
  1. Orchestra Manager/Librarian
  2. Igor Shakhman
  1. Stage Manager
  2. Ron Christopher
  1. Board Liaison
  2. Diana Taylor-Williams

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Board of Directors


  1. Dr. David Smith  Chair
  2. Kathy McDonald Vice Chair
  3. LeAnn Gilmore   Secretary
  4. Jennifer Weber  Treasurer

    Paul Christiansen
    Elizabeth Dendy  
    Jared Hidden
    Michael Kelly
    Michael Liu, MD  
    Park Llafet
    Brian Pelky

Non-Voting Members

    1. Salvador Brotons Music Director and Conductor
    2. Igor Shakhman Executive Director
    3. Carol Robinson Office Manager
    4. Diana Taylor-WilliamsOrchestra-Board Liaison
    5. Coleen DinkleVSO Friends
    6. Theo Ernesti VSO Friends Chairperson


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  1. Salvador Brotons Music Director and Conductor
  2. Igor Shakhman Executive Director
  3. Kim Office Manager
  4. Clara Crisifulli Bookkeeper
  5. Rich Brase Marketing Director
  6. ASK Advertising Graphic Design
    Theo Ernesti Friends of the VSO Chair
  7. Keast and Associates, LLC Webmaster

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