Versatility, passion and innovation are the hallmarks of American conductor Janna Hymes. Renowned for her inspiring performances, musical depth and energetic presence both on and off the podium, she has developed a reputation as an exciting, detailed communicator. Praised by the press as “an architect, a builder in sound, a conductor with an overall view who never misses details,” Janna has served as Artistic Director of Indiana’s Carmel Symphony Orchestra since 2017, and was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Sedona Symphony in Arizona.
Her success with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra has resulted in the extension of her contract through the 2025 season. During her tenure in Carmel, Janna has worked tirelessly to bring the orchestra to the forefront of the community by increasing the number of performances each season, programming unique and varied concerts and breaking down barriers that can exist between traditional orchestral concerts and the audience. Janna’s programming pushes through conventional concert experiences by focusing on performances which leave the audience wanting more. She has a sensibility which allows her to pair traditional orchestral music with something unexpected, resulting in a fresh concert experience. A strong believer in collaboration, it is not unusual to hear a world premiere, see dancers, choirs, music with film and even aerial artists onstage throughout the orchestra’s season.
As a strong advocate for contemporary music, Janna has introduced the Carmel Symphony Orchestra audience to performances by Adam Schoenberg, Clarice Assad, Edgar Meyer, and Valerie Coleman; has introduced the music of Florence Price and William Grant Still to the CSO community, and devoted an entire concert to Hispanic Heritage Month thus attracting a totally new audience.
Her commitment to education shows no bounds. Performing in Carmel’s beautiful Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, the orchestra currently presents a full series for kids and families along with a new, small ensemble program in the schools. Janna works with many of the area school orchestras throughout the year. Through her tireless efforts, she developed a program called Roundabouts, a spin (pun intended!) on Carmel’s many roundabouts, setting up small ensemble concerts in outdoor spaces and throughout the city, at locations including parks, wineries, street fairs, store openings and more.
Recent performance highlights include opening the 2022-23 season with the West Virginia Symphony and concerts with the Symphony Orchestras of Savannah, Venice, Roanoke, Macon, and Portland; serving as Artist in Residence at Colby College; leading the Williamsburg Symphony on its first international tour, and conducting the Maine Pro Music Orchestra as part of the festivities celebrating the 125th anniversary of the town of Rockport, Maine. Janna is a frequent guest conductor at the Sewanee Music Festival in Tennessee where she returned this summer and was immediately reengaged. In addition she will guest conduct the Cortona Chamber Orchestra in Italy and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.
Among the orchestras with which Janna has appeared with are those in Houston, Indianapolis, Oregon, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Hartford, Madison, Stamford, Harrisburg, Spokane, Richmond, Springfield, Bozeman, Canton, Chappaqua Chamber, Bangor and Omaha, as well as the San Francisco Women’s Philharmonic, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra. Internationally, she has led the Costa Rica National Symphony on numerous occasions along with many tours with the Delta Ensemble of Holland, the National Orchestre de Lyon, Besancon Chamber Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico.
Janna’s previous posts include Music Director of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (2004 to 2019); Music Director of the Maine Grand Opera; founder and conductor of Maine Pro Musica; Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; 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. She has served on the music faculty of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Akron and Butler University in Indianapolis.
Janna is the proud recipient of several prestigious awards including a Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation Grant; a top prize of the International Conducting Competition in Besancon, France; a distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and she is the recipient of a Fulbright Award.
She studied under such prominent conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier, Otto Werner-Mueller and Gunther Schuller, and holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also studied at the Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival.