The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to announce the appointment of David Willms as the new Music Director for the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO). After a rigorous search with many highly qualified applicants, Willms was unanimously chosen by HPO’s search committee and was seen by many as the ideal candidate to honour the legacy of Glenn Mallory, who was also a strong educator and musician.
“David’s outstanding commitment to youth music making and education was evident throughout the search and audition process, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the HPYO as an artistic and community leader,” says HPO Executive Director Kim Varian.
A graduate of the Bachelor of Music Education program at Western University, David Willms brought his passion for education to the classroom in 2006, teaching music at Aldershot High School where he built up an award-winning Concert Band program. In 2016, he moved to his current position at Abbey Park High School in Oakville where he established the only strings program in the Halton District School Board. This program has flourished under his guidance and the Abbey Park String Ensemble has been awarded a gold-level adjudication at Musicfest Canada at every festival appearance.
Willms is also a well-respected musician whose professional engagements as a violist include the Netherlands Opera Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Canadian Opera Company. He has played professionally in pits for music theatre and has recorded and toured with popular Canadian artists such as Diana Krall, Bruce Cockburn and The Philosopher Kings.
“I am very much looking forward to this partnership with David as we work together to bring robust and fulfilling programming to youth musicians in the community. David brings such dedication, experience, and knowledge to the role, and does so with humour and grace. He is a fantastic addition to the organization,” says HPYO General Manager, Megan Benjafield.
Willms has a passion for both music-making and educating young musicians. He is thrilled to be joining the HPYO as its new Music Director and looks forward to working with the musicians and sharing their talents with the Hamilton community. He will be welcomed to his first rehearsal with the HPYO on October 15, 2022, in preparation for the first concert of the season on November 26, 2022, at LR Wilson Hall at McMaster University.
About the HPYO: The HPYO is the foremost student-based symphony orchestra in the Greater Hamilton region and the flagship education program of the HPO. Founded by Glenn Mallory in 1965, the HPYO has given the joy of orchestral music to generations of young people and has delighted thousands of audience members. Graduates of the orchestra are involved in professional and community orchestras across Canada, in the United States and in Europe.
Following the July 2021 merger of the HPYO and the HPO, Megan Benjafield was hired as General Manager for the HPYO in the spring of 2022. Her administrative leadership will now be complemented by David Willms’ artistic leadership, and with these two leaders at the helm, the HPO has every confidence that the HPYO will flourish and thrive as it moves back to a full season of in-person programming.
About the HPO: For over a century, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has presented orchestral music and education programs with a mission to enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region. Music Director Gemma New and the professional musicians of the HPO present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music and world premieres by living composers. As one of Canada’s leading professional orchestras, the HPO has proudly contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape and continues to uphold values of high calibre, inclusive and accessible orchestral music and education for all.