Murray Symphony is pleased to announce the appointment of James Thompson to the position of Associate Conductor and Michelle Wills as Assistant Conductor! Julie Christofferson will continue serving as Music Director and conductor while Mr. Thompson and Ms. Willis join the staff to help maximize rehearsal and performance preparation time. They will also conduct in performances at various times throughout the concert season. We are appreciative of Ms. Christofferson for her continued leadership and happy to have these expert musicians become an integral part of the Murray Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Christofferson added, “We are expanding and growing our organization with these new additions to the staff. It is a format commonly used by many professional symphonies. As we continue to grow and improve as an ensemble, this addition will provide depth and variety to both our rehearsals, literary programming and performances. I am thrilled to welcome these two amazing friends and colleagues to the Murray Symphony musical team!”
Julie Christofferson currently works as the District Arts Coordinator for Nebo School District. She taught instrumental music at Jordan and West Jordan High Schools and has served as the Band Vice-President then later President of the Utah Music Educators Association. In addition she has performed as a trumpeter with the Salt Lake Symphony, Utah Symphony, Northern Utah Honor Band and numerous other performing groups. She enjoys conducting the Murray Symphony, Nebo Youth Philharmonic and Cityjazz Big Band as well as performing in numerous brass ensembles. She loves composing, arranging music, golfing and spending time with family!
Dr. James W. Thompson has been part of the music community in Salt Lake City for 35 years. He has taught in both Granite and Jordan School Districts. His main instrument is the bass, but he is also well versed in bass guitar, piano, guitar, and viola. He loves all types of music, but especially music for large instrumental ensembles. He also loves to conduct. He has been associated with the Murray Symphony for many years as a substitute conductor and a much needed bass player. In addition to Music, he absolute loves the aesthetics of the great outdoors, especially in terms of hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking, bird watching, and studying the amazing geology of southern Utah’s red rock country.
Over the span of 20 years Michelle Willis has conducted everything from large scale choirs to small chamber orchestras. She studied at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and Boise State University and graduated with a B.A. in Choral Music Education. Throughout her career, she has worked with well-known industry conductors and composers such as Barlow Bradford, Nathan Hofheins, Kurt Bestor, Daniel Gawthrop and Darwin Wolford. She is the owner of her own publishing company (www.TetonMusic.com) . She works as a composer for the Utah Opera Educational Outreach program, a music specialist at Early Light Academy (South Jordan, UT), and as a conducting and string theory professor for Curious.com. Ms. Willis founded the Herriman Community Orchestra and served as its Artistic Director for 6 years before partnering with Kensington Theatre Company to create the Kensington Symphony Orchestra.