About Us

About the HPYO
Since 1965

Leadership through music

Our History

Founded by Glenn Mallory in 1965, the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra has given the joy and discipline of orchestral music to hundreds of young people, and has delighted the thousands for whom they have played. 

In addition to performing regular local concerts, the orchestra has performed as far afield as Banff, Moosonee, Carnegie Hall, New York, Huntsville, Alabama and Northampton, England.

The HPYO continues Dr. Mallory’s legacy of extraordinary music education.

about us

A non-profit organization with charitable status, the HPYO is the foremost student-based symphony orchestra in the Greater Hamilton Region operating with effective governance, expert artistic direction and committed volunteers.

Admission is by audition only and the orchestra consists of 65 to 90 young musicians ranging in age from 12 to 24. After a successful audition, each young musician must make a yearlong commitment to regular rehearsals and performances. Private study is strongly encouraged.

Youth orchestra musicians regularly represent more than 20 schools throughout the Greater Hamilton region, and there are more than 2,000 alumni in a wide range of professions, including two current members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Graduates of the orchestra are involved in professional and community orchestras across Canada, in the United States and in Europe. Even those who have not followed a musical career remain enriched by a musical and social experience as adults. 

our mission

Music Education

High-quality learning and skill-building opportunities.

Public Performance

Participation in concerts and special events.

Community Service

Opportunities to engage in community service.

guiding principles


We believe in providing opportunities for student musicians from all backgrounds and circumstances.


We believe in the power of collaboration and shared responsibility to advance mutual goals.


We believe in pursuing managed growth to serve our community and achieve our mission.

HPO Mentors

Our Faculty

Gemma New, artistic advisor

Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is a leader among the new generation of conductors. She is currently in her sixth season as the Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and her second season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hailed as “a rising star in the musical firmament” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), New was awarded Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Ms. New’s guest conducting sees her making appearances world wide, including appearances across the United States, Great Britain, Europe and Oceania. Read more about Gemma in her HPO bio here.


Cecilia Chang, Violin

Originally born in Seoul, Korea, Cecilia moved to Hamilton at the age of six. After leaving the city for 10 years to pursue schooling and world travel, she has maintained Hamilton as her base since 2002. Cecilia earned her Honours Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto and graduated from the studio of internationally respected pedagogue David Zafer. She has performed with orchestras throughout Canada and Europe including the Barcelona Sinfonietta, Thunder Bay Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Orchestra London, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Niagara Symphony, National Academy Orchestra and the Stratford Festival Orchestra. She has also sat as Concertmaster for Korean Canadian Orchestra, Symphony on the Bay and Talisker Players Toronto. 

Suhashini Arulanandam, Violin

Violinist Suhashini Arulanandam joined the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002, immediately following her graduation from the Glenn Gould School. At home on both modern and Baroque violin, Suhashini has recorded with the Aradia Ensemble playing Vivaldi on period instruments and can also be heard performing Canadian contemporary chamber works on the Centrediscs label. She performs frequently with cellist Sybil Shanahan as the Tadioli Duo, named after their “sibling” instruments from the same workshop. A dedicated teacher, Suhashini has a private studio of quirky, inquisitive and motivated students aged 9 to senior citizens. As a Licensure Trainee of the Association for Body Mapping Education, she is passionate about injury prevention and movement education for musicians at every stage of development. 

Elspeth Thomson, Viola

Elspeth Thomson has played viola with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 10 years. She is also a busy freelancer in Southern Ontario and has performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London and the Talisker Players. She has played with the Canadian Tenors, Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall and Led Zeppelin. Elspeth completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario and has also studied at the Banff Centre and Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She received her Master of Music at the Mannes College of Music in New York City where she studied with Karen Ritscher and has also played with the Secord String Quartet and Trius String Quartet. 

Laura jones, Cello

In addition to playing Cello with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Laura Jones is known for her performance on the historical cello, and viola da gamba. She is the Windermere String Quartet cellist and principal cellist/gambist of Nota Bene Baroque Players. Her kaleidoscopic activities range from playing the solo viola da gamba part in George Benjamin’s spell-binding opera, “Written on Skin” with the Toronto Symphony to sold-out performances with Ensemble Ritmo Flamenco.

Leslie Newman, Woodwinds

Flautist Leslie Newman is well known to Hamilton audiences. She has held the post of Principal Flute with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008 and has appeared regularly as a soloist with the orchestra. Solo recitals have taken her from the world-famous Wigmore Hall to Taipei’s National Concert Hall, the National Museum in Bogotá, Colombia and Washington’s Phillips Collection. Concerto highlights include performances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Oregon’s Bach Festival Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Leslie has been the HPYO woodwind coach since 2012 and is devoted to supporting and nurturing the next generation of musicians. 

Robert Wolanski, Bass

Rob Wolanski is Principal Bass of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and regularly plays section bass for the Canadian Opera Company, Esprit Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada and many other ensembles. In the summer months, Rob plays in several music festivals including the Brott Music Festival and the Westben Festival. Rob is also active as an electric bass player playing with several groups in the Rock, Folk and Country genres including the Scottish Country Dance band, Scotch Mist and Canadian Country music artists including Brad James, Ryan Langdon, Tim Hebert and others. 

Michael Fedyshyn, Brass

Michael Fedyshyn has held the position of Principal Trumpet of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007. Prior to joining as second trumpet, he held the position of Principal Trumpet of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Michael has performed as guest Principal Trumpet with the National Arts Centre and Montreal Symphony Orchestras and can also be heard regularly in concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, NACO and the Canadian Opera Company. Originally from Cornwall, Ontario, Michael attended the University of Ottawa before continuing studies at the Glenn Gould School of the RCM. His teachers include Robert Oades, Vincent Cichowicz and Andrew McCandless. Michael is a Bach (Conn-Selmer) artist and plays Bach Bb and C trumpets and cornets, and the Conn Vintage One Flugelhorn.