“Muzio Clementi, a Classical stylist best known for his piano works, wrote four major symphonies, none of which seem to have gotten much play in the larger world of orchestral performances. Such a pity since this performance, so exactingly directed by Janna Hymes, was illustrative of Clementi’s orchestral capabilities. After a quiet and deliberate “larghetto” opening, the work evolves into one that is joyful, light and somewhat carefree, much along the lines of Haydn. Its lines are lyrical, clean, uncluttered and fall happily on the ear, most especially the many musical surprises that fall throughout the work. The WSO performance perfectly captured the work’s spirit.”

-The Virginia Gazette

“Maestra Hymes has a relaxed, fluid, clear but very expressive conducting style. She elicited a warm, blended sound from the ensemble and paced the passionate climaxes in the Wagner [Siegfried Idyll] work extremely well. The winds and brass were especially fine in executing their difficult parts. Overall, the performance was beautifully shaped. …After the intermission, Hymes conducted the entire string section of the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s popular Serenade for Strings. Once again she led with a flexible but authoritative control, and brought out the expressive highlights of all four movements, especially in the elegiac Larghetto. …The final movement moved with dazzling swiftness and pulsated with Russian energy, so that the ending was quite exhilarating. As a result, the audience rose to its feet and was rewarded with an encore — the delightful “Pizzicato Polka” by Johann and Joseph Strauss, played with humor and lightness under Hymes’ expert direction.”

– The Roanoke Times

“The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra pulled out all the collaborative stops in its cleverly conceived ‘Carnival of the Animals’ program Saturday in the Williamsburg Community Chapel. With abundant talent that spans the artistic spectrum here, WSO chose to embrace music, dance, art and theatre into its concept with winning results. While this was programmed before the orchestra’s name change, it’s a moment of proud boasting for the new identity and further indication of the high level contribution Janna Hymes has been making to the community since assuming the orchestra’s helm 12 years ago. This endeavor was one of the most, if not the most, complete unification of artistic skills to be seen in the region. In addition to the WSO, the participants included the Virginia Regional Ballet, artist Bob Oller, and Elisabeth Reiss, who narrated the delightful poems of Ogden Nash heard in the program’s featured fare, the Saint Saens ‘Carnival of the Animals.’ … …Musically, the orchestra was in fine sounding shape, ably assisted by pianists Sarah Puckett and Lily Li, all of whom lent dimension and color to the characterizations. Hymes superbly coordinated the music and the movement and shaped an effortless flow of both sound and sight.”

– The Virginia Gazette

“Unquestionably, Janna Hymes is an exceptionally skilled conductor whose artistic and refined style gets to the heart of the music….the players delivered an extremely well crafted performance that was precise, spirited, and balanced in sound, technique and interpretation……it was truly an exceptional job. During the Bruch Violin Concerto, Hymes coordinated the give and take between soloist, David Kim, and the orchestra in superb fashion. It was about as perfectly orchestrated a joint endeavor as I’ve ever heard in live performance. Hymes’s extraordinary work in making it come together resulted in absolutely first class performance. In fact, the entire evening was just that- first class.”

– The Virginia Gazette

“Ms. Hymes elicited a robust, energetic sound from the orchestra members, who responded with precise, fresh playing. She has a clear technique and is a confident conductor with an easy rapport.”

– The Cincinnati Enquirer

 

“Appearing almost tiny on the podium, attired primly and properly in conductor’s black, a slim and lithe Janna Hymes wielded a precise baton in providing assured guest leadership of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.”

Wisconsin State Journal

 

“The big event turned out to be the Prelude and Love-Death from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. From the first yearning notes through all the aching, arching lines of both pieces, the performance made of the music what it can be when the circumstances are right: something almost mystical.”

– The Indianapolis Star

 

“This popular and well-received program was under the very able direction of guest conductor Janna Hymes, whose approach is laid-back but very effective. She got great results with her baton technique and eloquent shading with her left hand. The orchestra was in tip-top form, giving this talented lady and the audience just what they wanted.”

– Richmond Times-Dispatch

 

“It was Hymes’s conducting that caught my attention. Her conceptual grasp of Shostakovich’s Age of Gold Suite and Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia, as well as the Prokofiev and the Tchaikovsky, enabled her to get from the orchestra some of its best playing of the season. Hymes… a talent to be reckoned with.”

Nuvo Newsweekly (Indianapolis)

 

“Hymes led the orchestra in a seamless collaboration. In Sibelius’ Third Symphony, Hymes had her strings negotiating those continuous and intricate figurations … beautiful precision…the pensive slow-movement showed the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra associate in full command, bringing out all the dynamic nuances.”

Nuvo Newsweekly (IN)

 

“The Williamsburg Symphonia closed its music season in high style with a stylish program that was superbly handled by the musicians under the moving baton of Janna Hymes. It was a program that was filled with listening pleasures of varied dimension. In what is a broken­ record observation, it is important to realize how fortunate we are to have such quality . music readily available in Williamsburg. The impact Hymes and her orchestra have had on our community and its reputation as a go-to place for quality music is more than gratifying. …The featured guest for the evening was cellist Zuill Bailey, a performer internationally noted for his superior playing abilities….Bailey is considered one of the top cellists in today’s market and he proved his standing in his performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto in A Minor….Hymes effectively created a perfect balance between soloist and orchestra, allowing a highly musical dialogue to develop, along with a strong emotional dimension….The program closed with a rip roaring performance of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41in C Major, the ‘Jupiter’ In short, it was a thrilling ride that thoroughly tapped into the work’s elegance and excitement…” ”

The Virginia Gazette

 

“To the substantial credit of conductor Janna Hymes, whose firm control of the core was evident, the Symphonia handled [Kurt] Weill’s [Symphony No. 2] challenging intricacies and excesses of emotion with confidence, quality, excitement and technical prowess. There’s a lot to this work in its colorful orchestration, layers of creative structure, mood – evoking melodies, and technical requirements….  …The fare opened on an upbeat tone with Bernstein’s Three Dances from “On the Town!’ Originally composed as a ballet score for “Fancy Free;’ it morphed into the Broadway hit musical, “On the Town,” and later into a movie of the same name, but with an altered score. The dances are big and bold, rhythmically jazzy, and smart, sassy and sultry, with a bit of melancholy or wistfulness rounding out the emotions. The score isn’t particularly challenging but it fun to hear and one suspects, given the involved playing, especially in the more laid-back, looser moments, quite a bit fun to play. No doubt the fact that Hymes was a student of Bernstein’s in 1989 added to the insight heard in this energetic and appealing performance. Hymes and the Symphonia continue to be a musical gift that keeps giving and giving. ”

The Virginia Gazette

 

“The orchestra, led by Janna Hymes, delivered an amazing performance that filled the hall and complimented the singers with a delivery that was even, full and spirited. Ms. Hymes showed easy control and sensitivity to the score and the range of the singers and the roles they were singing. It was a wonderful orchestral performance which lacked nothing.

– OperaOnline.com USA

 

“Musically it was a breath of fresh air. The playing was markedly concise, nuanced, blended and technically savvy. It was as if the time had arrived finally for the Symphonia to strut its stuff. An overall impression of conducting style suggests a blend of appropriately placed elegance, drive and control. Whether in the sprightly Overture to the Magic Flute, the impressionist colorings of the Ravel, the sheer tunefulness and spirit of Bartok’s Rumanian Dances or the grandeur of Beethoven’s ymphony No.1, Hymes and company connected. Based on this first performance, it seems and sounds as if Hymes and the Williamsburg Symphonia are on the right track, moving in the right direction, with the right conductor at just the right time.” (Season Opening)

The Virginia Gazette

 

“Sunday’s Bangor Symphony concert turned out to be a triumph for musicians, conductor and audience alike. Ms. Hymes used it to explore subtleties of the Classical and Romantic periods of composition in a way seldom heard in this or many other orchestras. Phrases were curved, not flat, bowing was precise- delicate when it needed to be – and intonation blessedly correct. The nuances of playing… always in balance, always together, were superbly led and executed. Brahms Symphony No. 4 completed the evening’s program. Hymes not only rose to the occasion, she created it. What a gift for a conductor to bring, the gift of allowing the innate musicianship of the orchestra to be developed and shared.”

– Ellsworth American, Bangor, ME

 

“From the confident, personable charm that warmed her preconcert “classical conversation” through a challenging two-hours of stylish, powerful, no-nonsense music making, Ms. Hymes was master of the situation.”

– Union-News, Springfield, MA

 

“Ravel’s ‘Tombeau de Couperin’ let Hymes shape some unusual sonorities, and the orchestra rose to the challenge, bringing to life colorful splashes of sound…. She led the Dvorak Symphony No.9 like it was the world premiere, putting everything she had into all four movements. The New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra responded with playing that matched the high drama of the music. With Hymes on the podium the symphony was a living, breathing event – truly worth attending and hearing.”

Hippo Press, Manchester (NH)

 

“Each time Hymes conducts, I come away impressed and never more so than after her concert Friday evening. She is an architect, a builder in sound, a conductor with an overall view who never misses details. She brought out the orchestra’s finest feathery qualities. Hymes knows when to put the music on a leash and when to let it run unleashed.”

The Indianapolis Star

 

“The big event turned out to be the Prelude and Love-Death from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. From the first yearning notes through all the aching, arching lines of both pieces, the performance made of the music… something almost mystical.”

The Indianapolis Star

 

“Her precise, flowing beat brought the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra together, eliciting unified, vibrant playing unusual for a season opener.”

– Cincinnati Post