Carmel Symphony Orchestra: Not Your Grandparents’ Orchestra!

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September 2019

The Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO) opens its 2019–2020 season, “Musical Journeys with Janna,” with a fresh and innovative way designed by its music director, Janna Hymes, to target and engage diverse audiences of all ages. Hymes’ program includes a brilliant repertoire of some of the world’s most exquisite and eclectic symphonic music ever composed.

Hymes, the 85-member resident orchestra and the CSO staff are committed to enhancing the quality of life for its patrons through its artistically excellent and affordable performances. The CSO is equally committed to its engaging outreach and educational experiences both at The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel and beyond.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Since joining CSO in 2017, Hymes has been fervently working on the orchestra’s programming, which she is scheduling out to five years, and is excited to share some of the fruits of her labor for this year’s season. This year’s season will speak to a vaster demographic than ever before and inserts CSO as part of the common culture here in our remarkable city.

“What we are seeing across the board—not just in Carmel—is that we [professional orchestras] need to be representative of our community in a bigger way, and we need to be inclusive,” Hymes emphasized. “This [CSO] needs to be a home for everybody—a safe haven. Here, there are no prejudices, and we will play music that will be representative of everybody.”

Hymes expressed her passion for the city to become known as a great arts destination with a great orchestra and to build on the growing attraction that is bringing in people from all over greater central Indiana.

“We’re starting with small steps,” Hymes said. “This season we’re going to play Edgar Meyer, who I think has nine Grammys now and is an exceptional crossover artist. A lot of people are like, ‘Wow, you’re bringing Edgar Meyer here?’ Of course, we’re doing Beethoven to celebrate his 250th birthday. I think every single orchestra in the world is doing something to honor that, but I really wanted to do Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 in D minor. I’m bringing in four of my friends who are singers, and I’m really looking forward to that [performance] because I think that is one of the greatest pieces ever written. We will have the Anderson [University] Choirs on stage as well, so it will be a real spectacle.”

For the first time in The Center’s history, two resident companies—CSO and the Actors Theatre of Indiana—will collaborate and perform on The Palladium’s revered stage.

“‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ is a really cool collaborative effort and one of my favorite shows, if not my favorite show of all time,” Hymes shared. “I love the music. We’ve been talking with ATI for a couple of years, and one day I got a call from ATI telling me they wanted to do ‘Sweeney Todd’ with CSO. It’s a great orchestral piece, and ATI is great, so when you put us together, it will be strong on both ends. I am really excited about this.”

One of Hymes’ goals is to bring CSO to places beyond The Center and to introduce people to a modern-day orchestra where one may least expect it.

CSO performed a summer concert at Sun King Distillery this summer in the newly completed Midtown Plaza.

“We loved playing Sun King,” Hymes said. “We learned a lot and have worked out a lot of kinks, so we’d love to come back and offer a couple of shorter concerts as a teaser for what it is that we do.”

Recently, CSO performed a concert at Mallow Run Winery.

“The owners [of Mallow Run] used to play in the orchestra,” Hymes said. “I went there, socially, and fell in love with the space. It’s beautiful, and the wine is terrific. They are also very welcoming. We played a gamut of music from “Hamilton” to some classic pop—it was a really nice mix.”

Staying true to CSO’s roots, Hymes promises that they will continue to perform great classical music while integrating a broader range of music and programs that appeal to a broader range of people.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

“I’m very realistic,” Hymes said. “I think that this [strategy] is going to be the ticket to our continued growth and success. But when you think of CSO, I want you to think that we do a combination of classical and really hip and fun with an excellence in orchestral playing.”


CSO is affordable—a family of four can attend the entire Masterworks Series season (six concerts) for under $250

Did you know… that CSO is family friendly—we offer family-centered programming (Side-by-Side & Family Fun! concerts) but all our concerts are OK to bring kids to (except maybe “Sweeney Todd”!)

CSO is not “stuffy” but cool and approachable. Come in jeans or come in a suit and heels. All are welcome. Bring a drink to your seat. Sit back and relax and watch Janna and our amazing musicians do all the incredible work!

CSO’s special events are fun and fresh (Mallow Run or Sinatra & Friends, where we’ve invited the audience to dress in period attire, aka cosplay effect)

For a complete list of the entire 2019–2020 season’s concerts, and to purchase tickets, visit

Carmel Symphony Orchestra