Cathy Young is founder, artistic director, conductor, arranger and violinist for the Orchid Isle Orchestra, a community string orchestra in Hilo, Hawaii. She teaches violin, viola, cello, and piano at the Young Music Studio in Keaau to students, ages 3 and up. She plays violin, cello or primarily viola with the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, Kona Music Society, and for various island musical and chamber ensembles, including the Maui Chamber Orchestra.
She began playing viola in elementary school so she could perform with her siblings as the Mulligan String Quartet. During college years at Vassar, Ms. Young studied with violist Stephanie Fricker of the Mostly Mozart Orchestra and pianist Blanca Uribe. Ms. Young studied viola and piano at Brevard Music Center.
Her Peace Corps Volunteer job was to teach and conduct strings in Belize City, Belize. She helped raise funds so she and other Belizean teachers could attend Suzuki teacher training in Canada. The Belize string program based at Pallotti High School still flourishes today. Several of Ms. Young’s former students from Belize and Hawaii pursue active music careers today.
Post Peace Corps service, Ms. Young sought more Suzuki training and strings education. She participated in many Suzuki Institutes. In Hawaii, she studied with MCO player Michael Russell. In 2015, she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Academy. BSO Assistant Conductor Nick Hersh coached seventeen teachers from around the country for the week-long Academy. While there, Ms. Young had the opportunity to conduct the BSO, and to play a concert with the BSO under Marin Alsop. Ms. Young’s brother, Greg Mulligan, plays first violin in BSO. Her niece, Emily Thomas, is an orchestra teacher and also earned a scholarship to attend that year.
Ms. Young has played viola or violin for Friday Morning Music Club (Washington, DC); the University of Hawaii at Hilo orchestra, Maui Symphony, Hawaii Opera Theater; Hilo Chamber Music Festival, and Kilauea Drama and Entertainment Network.
Ms. Young led a “Wiggles ‘n Tunes” class for toddlers/pre-schoolers and their parents. For five years she taught strings at Malamalama Waldorf School and then followed her students to work with them at Hilo High School.
She is also a “Suzuki parent.” Both her children play the violin. Hilo High student Elizabeth plays violin in Orchid Isle Orchestra and sings in many musicals. Alden studies violin at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. When he is in-state he joins MCO performances.