When she moved to Maine a decade ago, Janna Hymes came up with an idea that seemed both outlandish and far-fetched: a professional orchestra in midcoast Maine.

“We have plenty of chamber music around here, and very good chamber music too,” she said. “But we lacked an orchestra, and I felt this area deserved a good orchestra.”

Hymes launched Maine Pro Musica in 2008 with an inaugural concert at the Camden Opera House, performing the ensemble’s first holiday pops program. On Friday, the orchestra will return to the venue for a performance featuring guest cellist Marc Johnson, who is best known for his many years of work with the Vermeer Quartet.

Johnson will join the orchestra for Camille Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto. He will perform on his 1730 Stradivarius cello, one of only 60 in the world.

The program also includes music by Gioachino Rossini, Gabriel Faure and Franz Schubert.

Maine Pro Musica currently plays three to four concerts a year. Hymes, who also serves as music director of the Williamsburg Symphonia in Virginia, says the orchestra is “a bit out of the box. Because of our makeup, we have the ability to stretch the boundaries.”

The orchestra has about 45 players, but will perform with 30 or so for Friday’s concert. It doesn’t perform a regular season of concerts, and instead programs performances as opportunities present themselves.

Hymes’ previous positions include music director of the Maine Grand Opera, associate conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony, resident conductor of the Charlotte Symphony and music director of the Columbus Women’s Orchestra, the Cincinnati Composers’ Guild and the I Solisti Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

A Fulbright scholar, she studied under Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier, Otto Werner-Mueller and Gunther Schuller.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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