Soirée No. 1

  • Reid Campus Center Ballroom 280 Boyer Ave Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States

Guest Artist Soiree Series: Soiree No. 1

Saturday, October 4, 7:30pm - Reid Campus Center Ballroom

The Guest Artist Soirée Series features Symphony guest artists in an intimate, solo setting. Admission includes a delicious glass of Walla Walla wine.

The first soirée of the season features Julia Salerno, violin, and Benjamin Gish, cello, assisted by Cynthia Huard, piano.


Benjamin Gish is the director of the Walla Walla Valley Academy String Orchestra and has a large studio of cellists and bassists ranging in age from pre-school through college. For the past 21 years he has been assistant principal cellist of the Walla Walla Symphony. He also was the first conductor of Symphony’s Youth Orchestra during their first three seasons.  He holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Cello Performance and Conducting. Over the past 35 years Mr. Gish has been collaborating with musicians from around the country. He has performed recitals with pianists, Linda Van Neikerk, pianist and composer Peter Mathews, extensively with Dr. James Breckenridge, and with various faculty and students at WWU. He has also performed a number of times with musicians of the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival. Currently he is performing in a Trio with his daughter Dr. Julia Salerno, violinist, and Cynthia Huard, a prominent pianist from Middlebury College in Vermont. Gish has also performed the Schumann cello concerto right here with the Walla Walla Symphony and the Saint Saens concerto with the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra in Portland, Oregon. Several of his students have won top awards in state, regional, and national competitions. They also have been awarded major music scholarships to colleges and universities around the country (Cornell College, University of Michigan, Gonzaga, University of Southern California, Andrew’s University, Southern Adventist University, Walla Walla University and others). He is married to Connie Camp Gish and they have two children, James who is an engineering major at WWU and daughter Dr. Julia Salerno. Ben and Connie are the proud grandparents of Julia’s three year old twins, Dru and Luci.


Julia Salerno.jpg

Julia Gish-Salerno grew up in Walla Walla, WA and currently teaches violin and viola at Eastern Washington University.  She began her Suzuki studies before the age of two.  Early teachers included Rhonda Burnham and Kathleen Spring.  Julia received her Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan with highest honors in 2005. During this time she was concertmaster for the GRAMMY award winning recording of William Bolcom’s ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’ featuring the U of M Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.   Julia completed her Master’s and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees on full scholarship from the University of Southern California, studying with Lyndon Johnston-Taylor and Martin Chalifour. Julia has been a top prize winner in a variety of competitions nationwide, and has also soloed with many orchestras throughout the US and in Europe including the Walla Walla Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest, Spokane Symphony, and the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.  Julia is also an active chamber musician and teacher.  She frequently performs at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival and also teaches at Suzuki institutes in Walla Walla, WA and Rochester, VT. In addition to her University studio, Julia maintains a large private studio in the greater Spokane area.  She lives in Cheney, WA with her husband and twin toddlers. 

October 7
Curtain Up!