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. The WWVA orchestra tours widely throughout the northwest region. He is also an adjunct artist/faculty at Walla Walla University. Several of his students have won top awards in state, regional, and national competitions. Some orchestra and cello students have been awarded major scholarships to colleges and universities (Cornell College, University of Michigan, Gonzaga, USC, WWU and others). Mr. Gish is also assistant principal cellist of the Walla Walla Symphony and for three years he directed the Walla Walla Symphony’s Youth Orchestra. He holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Cello Performance and Conducting.
Mr. Gish is frequently asked to be a clinician for orchestra festivals and guest cellist artist/teacher on various campuses including Southern Adventist University and Walla Walla University. He adjudicates for state and local and state chapters of MTNA and MENC. Gish often collaborates with local musicians performing in a wide range of venues including at times the annual Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival.
For the past 25 years he has attended summer music camps across the nation in the role of student, parent, faculty, and guest artist. Last summer's activities included taking the Walla Walla Valley Academy Orchestra to Europe for 10 days, guest artist for the Rochester Chamber Music Society with Cynthia Huard, teaching at the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute, and being the institute director for the Walla Walla Suzuki Institute. This past February he performed the Saint Saens Cello Concerto with the Sunnyside Orchestra, in Portland, Oregon. In March he played in a trio recital at WWU with Julia Salerno and Cynthia Huard.
He is married to Connie Camp Gish and they have two children, daughter Dr. Julia Salerno (violinist on faculty at Eastern Washington University), and son Jamie, a senior at Walla Walla Valley Academy and a cellist in their orchestra. Recently two grandchildren joined the ranks when Julia had twins in August.