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“I am excited to begin serving as the next conductor of the Great Falls Youth Orchestra, and I believe in carrying on the tradition of positivity and excellence set forth by the conductors before me.


Having received most of my musical education from Montana’s excellent music educators, I believe in the tremendous passion and ability that Montana’s young people possess to explore and thrive in the orchestral realm.


My goal in directing the Great Falls Youth Orchestra is to create an encouraging environment for students to enjoy the process of creating music. Ultimately, I hope to help students become better teachers of themselves, developing individual and ensemble skills that will carry over into many other aspects of their musical and nonmusical lives.”

Kyara Nelsen


Based in Missoula where she maintains a growing private studio, Kyara Nelsen is excited to be joining the Great Falls Symphony Association to conduct the Youth Orchestra.


In addition to this new position, Ms. Nelsen also directs the orchestra program at Flathead Valley Community College and serves as the concertmaster of the Butte Symphony Orchestra.


She recently returned to her native Montana after graduating from Florida State University with her second master's degree in orchestral conducting, following a master’s in viola performance and a bachelor’s of violin performance from the University of Montana.


Throughout her educational career, Ms. Nelsen had the opportunity to both direct and play for several orchestral ensembles. While at FSU, she was the director of the Campus Orchestra, a string ensemble for non-majors. She was also the assistant conductor of the graduate- and undergraduate-level orchestras. During her time as a graduate student at UM, Ms. Nelsen founded and served for two years as the director of the University of Montana Chamber Orchestra, a volunteer ensemble of music majors and non-majors.


As an orchestral musician, Ms. Nelsen has played in several orchestras around Montana. During her time with the University of Montana Symphony Orchestra, she performed several concerts as concertmaster, assistant concertmaster, principal second violin, and principal viola.


Her conducting teachers include Dr. Alexander Jiménez of FSU and Dr. Luis Millán of UM. Her teachers of both violin and viola have been Dr. Pamela Ryan of FSU, Dr. Margaret Baldridge of UM, and Mr. John Peskey.

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