In tune with teens: Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Juan Felipe Molano

Posted on: February 27, 2020


Juan Felipe Molano conducts the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Joshua Huston

“You might not expect an orchestra conductor to be up on teen pop culture, let alone for that knowledge to come into play in a job interview,” writes Gemma Alexander in Wednesday’s (2/26) Seattle Times. “Apparently Juan Felipe Molano’s casual mention of [TwoSetViolin] a YouTube channel popular with teens during an audition rehearsal, and his easy authority that commands attention without fear, immediately won him the loyalty of students in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra…. Molano took over as music director for the 78-year-old Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra last September… It operates five orchestras, a precollege conservatory program, the Marrowstone Music Festival, plus summer training programs, partnerships with public schools and more…. Molano is already putting his stamp on the organization…. On March 1 … the organization’s flagship Youth Symphony Orchestra performs ‘Dances of the Americas’ at Benaroya Hall…. During rehearsals, Molano punctuates his frequent corrections with engaging personal stories and humorous asides…. ‘His conducting is easy to follow,’ said [15-year-old Youth Symphony cellist] Asim Kapoor. ‘The stuff he talks about first is the music, and then he goes into the technicality of how to create the sound. And I’ve loved everything we’ve played so far this year.’ ”