As interest in classical music dwindles, orchestras generally tend to focus more on contemporary works. However, the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra strives to maintain a balance between the two, while also giving new artists and contemporary musicians a chance to showcase their work.
The orchestra was co-founded in 1978 by Dr. Timothy Russell and Richard Early in an attempt to promote new artists and to establish a quality orchestra company in Columbus. Under the musical direction of Timothy Russell, the orchestra slowly rose in prominence as they recruited world class musicians and staged excellent performances.
In 1998, the company became the resident orchestra of Columbus’s historic Southern Theater, and continues to stage its performances there to this day. Occasionally the orchestra performs at the St. Turibius Chapel of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Both venues are beautifully built and offer exquisite interior architecture, aiding to the overall ambiance of the performance.
Dr. Russell remained the artistic director of the company for thirty four years after which he stepped down from the position, but is still the Conductor Laureate for the orchestra. After a two year search, David Danzymar was appointed as the orchestra’s new director in 2013 and this season will be his first in charge.
With over three decades of artistic excellence, the orchestra has brought Columbus to the national limelight as a center for quality performing arts. The orchestra through its educational initiatives and musical merit has now firmly established its place as one of the premier orchestra’s in the country.
Throughout its history, the orchestra has commissioned fifty nine new pieces and has presented over a hundred premiers by composers like Clarice Assad, Peter Schickele, Derek Barmel and Pulitzer Prize recipient Aaron Kernis. Recently the orchestra’s season featured the likes of Gabriela Montero, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Jane Monheit and fourteen time Grammy winner, Ricky Skaggs.
Among other achievements, the orchestra has recorded and released thirteen live albums, which highlight its live performances. Featured on the albums are artists like Gabriela Lena, Lera Auerbach, Joan Tower and Conrad Tao.
In recognition of its services, the orchestra has won numerous awards and honors from art councils and institutes. It has been honored with eight awards from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) for Adventurous Programming and has numerous other awards from prestigious institutes like the Columbus Jewish Foundation and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.