Wesley Hunter is a conductor, educator, and violist, currently based in Tacoma, Washington. In 2022, he completed a Master’s in Instrumental Conducting from Central Washington University, where he studied conducting with Nikolas Caoile and viola with Michelle Rahn. While a student at CWU, Wesley routinely conducted the school’s Symphony and Opera Orchestras, gave recitals on viola, served as assistant conductor for the Wenatchee Valley Symphony, and made his debut at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. In 2014, he received dual Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Performance from Northern Arizona University, earning one of the school’s Gold Axe Awards for outstanding student service.
During his time in Arizona, Wesley spent 5 years teaching orchestra and choir for grades 5-12 in Tucson’s Sunnyside Unified School District, where he most recently served as director of both the Desert View and Sunnyside High School orchestras. During his time there, each school’s program experienced growth in both size and quality. Guest engagements directing honor orchestras in southern Arizona followed his successes both at school and in his private studio where he taught various string instruments. Wesley’s students have routinely achieved high marks at festivals, and several auditioned successfully for membership in regional honor ensembles.
While teaching, playing, and guest directing, Wesley has continued to hone his conducting skills in orchestral conducting workshops in New York, Illinois, and Maine. Prior conducting teachers include Kenneth Kiesler (University of Michigan) and Toru Tagawa (Music Director of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra). He has also served as an orchestra pit conductor for Leavenworth Summer Theater, a position he will return to in the summer of 2023. As a violist, Wesley has participated in summer festivals in Arizona, New Mexico, and British Columbia, and has also performed with professional orchestras in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Olympia, and across Central Washington. Wesley is a former board member for Tucson Junior Strings, an alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, and has served as an officer for the Arizona chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). Currently, he teaches middle school orchestra in Tacoma Public Schools, and lives with his two well-fed cats.
Photo credit: Francis Fay
Founded in 1942, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra is the largest youth orchestra training program in the United States.