Ryan Murray, MSO Associate Conductor & MSYO Music Director

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Ryan Murray's dynamic conducting, natural musicality and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan is currently the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra; with whom he made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Since his appointment in 2013, Ryan has consistently worked to improve the quality, skill and prominence of the youth orchestra, and now leads an ensemble that features over 60 students from the greater Modesto area. He is also Artistic Director of Townsend Opera and Resident Conductor & Choral Director of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival in Nevada County, California.  As part of a joint-collaboration, Ryan served as Music Director for Fresno Grand Opera's mainstage productions of contemporary opera for two seasons, and previously served as a staff conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and The Opera Academy of California in San Francisco.  Effortlessly moving between genres, Ryan currently enjoys a wide range of performance genres & platforms, including traditional orchestral and operatic repertoire, pops performances, and a notable emphasis on contemporary American operatic works.

Ryan has recently garnered national recognition for his dynamic, compelling performances of contemporary opera and is the current winner of the 2016/17 American Prize in Opera Conducting for his highly lauded production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He was a 2016 semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and received honorary mention for the American Prize in Youth Orchestra Conducting. Ryan is also a past winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors, and spent the summer in residence alongside the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2014 Salzburg Festival.

Driven by a lifelong passion for learning, Ryan has attended masterclasses and seminars around the world. Ryan recently attended the 2017 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music's Conductors Workshop, and was one of just eight conductors worldwide to attend the Time of Music Summer Festival Masterclass in Finland led by Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki; he also recently attended a contemporary music symposium led by Alan Gilbert featuring the New York Philharmonic. Past events include the Aurora Chamber Festival in Sweden, where he studied under Maestro Kurt Masur, the Lucerne Festival Academy’s Conducting Masterclass in Switzerland, and the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic. Ryan holds degrees, summa cum laude, in Bassoon Performance and Voice Performance from California State University, Sacramento. Widely praised for his tireless work ethic, natural poise, and impassioned, inspired performances, Ryan continues to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike, and has proven to be a formidable presence on the podium. 

Don Grishaw, Concert Orchestra Conductor

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Donald Grishaw began piano and violin lessons at an early age. His interest in music flourished throughout his high school years. He attended San Jose State University, graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance in violin and piano and a minor in Spanish. While attending SJSU, he studied the violin with the late Dr. Lauren Jakey and also with Daniel Kobialka of the San Francisco Symphony. Upon graduation, Mr. Grishaw pursued Single Subject and Multiple Subject teaching credentials and has been teaching in the Turlock Unified School District for over 30 years. His current assignment is at Pitman High School where he teaches Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra as well as Spanish 2 and AP Spanish Literature. With the opening of Pitman High School in 2002, Mr. Grishaw founded the Pitman High School Orchestra which now includes over 100 students, and has received accolades both locally and in Southern California where they perform each year while on tour. Mr. Grishaw performs regularly throughout the surrounding communities on the violin, the viola, and the piano. He is a longstanding member of the violin section of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and also freelances with other local orchestras and string quartets. Mr. Grishaw and his wife, Angelica, play regularly for Sunday Masses, quinceañeras, and weddings at Sacred Heart Church in Turlock. Mr. Grishaw is an active member of S.C.M.E.A. (Stanislaus County Music Educators Association), C.M.E.A. (California Music Educators Association), A.S.T.A. (American String Teachers Association), C.O.D.A. (California Orchestra Directors Association), and A.F.M. (American Federation of Musicians).

Ella Webb, Woodwind & Brass Ensemble Coach

Ms. Webb graduated from the University of the Pacific where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with a minor in French horn performance.

She recently retired from the Hughson Unified School District where she worked for forty years. Her duties there included instrumental (concert and jazz bands) at Fox Road Elementary, Emilie Ross Middle School, and Hughson High School. She was named Hughson’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2003-2004 and received the School Bell Award in 2010. In 2015 Mrs. Webb was named one of 23 California Music Educator’s Association State Music Mentors.

In 1994 she began Summer Music at Stanislaus, the music camp at CSU Stanislaus for band, choral, orchestra, and piano students in the 6th through 12th grades. She was camp director until 2002.

She has worked for YES (Youth Entertainment Stage) Company as the orchestra conductor for the past fourteen years.

Ms. Webb has also conducted many honor bands including Tuolumne County, San Rafael, Merced, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, and California Music Educator’s Association Bay Section. She has served on the boards of California Band Director’s Association, California Music Educator’s Association, and the Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association.

In 2016 she received the Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association Distinguished Service Award and the California Music Educator’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her professional organizations include California Teacher’s Association, California Music Educator’s Association, National Association for Music Education, Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association, and California Alliance for Jazz.