Brittany Boulding, who plays with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Sinfonietta and Auburn Symphony, joins the SSO with 3 other new players: bassist Ted Botsford; third horn John Turman; and Alexander White, third/assistant principal trumpet.

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Reached by phone a couple of days after the Seattle Symphony announced she won a coveted second-violin position with the orchestra, Brittany Boulding says she’d actually known the good news for two weeks.

But you could swear from her jubilant voice and excited laughter she just got the call from SSO music director Ludovic Morlot.

“I sound like an idiot,” she says of her unchecked cheer.


Seattle Symphony Masterworks: Strauss’ ‘Zarathustra’

The symphony’s next performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, Benaroya Hall, Seattle; tickets from $19 (206-215-4747 or


Behind the elation, Boulding displays a forceful will to make good music, cross-referencing her work in ensembles around the region.

Boulding is one of four new full-time musicians introduced last week by SSO: bassist Ted Botsford, acting principal bass of the Oregon Symphony; John Turman, newly appointed third horn (and principal horn of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra); and Alexander White, third/assistant principal trumpet, a role he held with SSO on temporary contract from 2012 to 2014.

Boulding, 33, a native of the area, has been a frequent player with Seattle Symphony.

“I moved back here five years ago,” she says, “and got a job with Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) as associate concertmaster, as well as concertmaster for Northwest Sinfonietta and the Auburn Symphony. I’ve been playing with Seattle Symphony regularly and auditioned last spring. You audition behind a screen so no one knows who you are.

“There were three rounds, and they offered me the spot. I was overjoyed. I get to work and play with this great orchestra, in this city that’s so amazing.”

What, exactly, is the responsibility of a second violin?

“Blending in well with the rest of your section, listening to the whole orchestra and finding that spot where you fit in just right,” Boulding says. “You’re in a supporting role while holding your own with the orchestra.”

Boulding is also having an impact on Northwest Sinfonietta (NWS), which recently changed from a top-down artistic leadership structure to collaboration between orchestra musicians and rotating guest directors.

“It’s been very exciting,” she says. “I’m on the artistic committee, so I’ve been very active. We help choose programming with our partners and artists who come. It’s a very involved part of the group, which I enjoy tremendously.”

In January 2012, Boulding was among the NWS musicians who traveled to Cuba and played concerts with some of that nation’s instrumentalists.

“It was an amazing experience,” she says. “Very eye-opening. The culture was so warm and exuberant, joyful and accepting. I was blown away by how much love everybody has for music, to be so immersed in music and culture despite so much poverty.”

Boulding is also passionate about performing chamber music. She joined a Mahler quartet last season as part of Seattle Symphony’s periodic chamber concerts.

“I think it adds a lot to my orchestral playing,” she says. “When you’re playing chamber music, you’re aware of everyone else in the group and what’s going on. You’re so involved in each line; it’s a very engaging way of making music. To me, it’s equally important to play in an orchestra that way. It’s so much more enjoyable for you and the audience because you’re really creating together.”

Besides her work with SSO, the Auburn Symphony, NWS and PNB, Boulding has played with the Cascade (in Edmonds) and New Haven symphony orchestras, the Finisterra Trio (Seattle), and in festivals across the Pacific Northwest and U.S. Her ubiquity on nearby and national stages is a plus for her musicianship, she says.

“It gives me a unique perspective on all the various aspects that go into a performance. I’ve had many opportunities to see all the different aspects of music-making, and that has strengthened my own playing.”