Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Music director Janna Hymes to leave Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra

Janna Hymes has been music director of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra since 2004 (WYDaily photo courtesy Grant Communications)
Janna Hymes has been music director of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra since 2004 (WYDaily photo courtesy Grant Communications)

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra soon will be looking for a new music director.

Janna Hymes, who has led the orchestra since 2004, will step down from that role at the end of the upcoming season, the symphony announced in a new release.

“It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce my departure from the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra at the end of the coming 2018-19 season,” Hymes said. “Since 2004, Williamsburg has been a home to me, and it has been an honor to be welcomed into the community by all of you and this wonderful orchestra surrounding me.

“Making music with these musicians, and in this community, is a joy. It has been my pleasure to contribute to the growth and quality of music-making of this organization, to help raise the bar, to attract guest artists of international repute, and to introduce the orchestra to an international audience as well,” she said.

Hymes said her greatest achievements are expanding the symphony’s season from 10 concerts to 23, diversifying its repertoire and raising awareness of the orchestra.

“There is a deep sadness in me for leaving, but having been at the helm of this organization for almost half of its history, this seems an appropriate and natural transition point,” she said. “Thank you for making me part of your family, part of your community, and part of your music.”

During her tenure, Hymes introduced initiatives such as Cabaret and Cocktails, family concerts, an annual masterclass series with guest artists, and performances of “The Nutcracker” with the Virginia Regional Ballet.

She also launched the “Peter and the Wolf” program in area schools and the symphony’s side-by-side concerts series, in which area music students rehearse and perform with professional musicians.

Hymes, who lives in Maine, did not reveal her future plans. In addition to the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, she also is music director of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra in Indiana.

Vance Stallings, president of the symphony’s board of trustees, said Hymes “fundamentally changed the nature of the orchestra” and brought new stature to the organization.

“Janna has done wonderful things for us and we look forward to simultaneously celebrating her tenure here along with our 35th season celebration,” he said in a news release. “We will be forever grateful for the foundation she has laid for our future, and wish her the best as she continues to grow in both stature and opportunity.”

The symphony plans to announce details about the search for a new music director in the near future.

Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

Related Articles