Bravo, Maestro Jinbo!

HANCOCK — This coming summer makes 25 years that conductor Michael Jinbo has led and lifted the orchestra and trained hundreds of young musicians at the Monteux School & Music Festival founded by famed conductor Pierre Monteux 77 years ago.

Nestled in a quiet woodland setting, overlooking Taunton Bay to the east and the Skillings River to the west, the Monteux School has had Jinbo at its helm for a quarter century.

Born in Hawaii, Jinbo has performed with diverse artists during his distinguished career — from famed pianist Garrick Ohlsson and violinist Kyoko Takezawa to Russian prima ballerina Galina Mezentseva to jazz band leader Cab Calloway.

“We are excited to honor Michael Jinbo and celebrate his devotion and accomplishments for the Monteux School & Music Festival,” the Monteux School’s Executive Director Marc Thayer said in an April 2 press release. “Once a student here, himself, Michael has trained hundreds of talented young musicians who have gone on to enjoy wonderful careers in the symphonic and operatic worlds.”

With the world in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, and movement greatly restricted due to health risks, the Monteux staff and board “are taking an optimistic view and holding to our current 77th season schedule, with a planned opening in mid-June 2020,” Thayer said in an April 3 press release. “Nearly two and a half months out from when both musicians and audiences would begin travel, we are carefully monitoring the evolving situation, and will revisit this in mid-May as the season draws closer.”

Open to the public, and held in the Forest Studio, the Monteux Music Festival’s Orchestra Concert Series runs from June 21 through July 22. Those concerts will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 21, June 28 and July 5, July 12 and July 22. The Mainely Chamber Music series, featuring guest artists, will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, July 1, July 8, July 15 and July 22. The Family Concert, followed by a petting zoo with orchestra members and their instruments, will be held at 10:30 a.m.

The 2020 season’s guest artists include the Los Angeles Philharmonic First Associate Concertmaster Nathan Cole, Louisville Orchestra Concertmaster Gabriel Lefkowitz, Chicago Symphony Orchestra flutist/piccoloist Jennifer M. Gunn, Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist Steven Lange,

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra cellist Bjorn Ranheim and former Metropolitan Opera Orchestra horn Howard T. Howard.

Former Chicago Symphony Orchestra CEO Henry Fogel will serve as guest speaker. Also returning is Scottish Chamber Orchestra Guest Conductor Kensho Watanabe.

To honor of Jinbo’s tenure, the Monteux School this week officially kicked off its 25/250 Anniversary Campaign to raise funds for music scholarships.

“Monteux prides itself for being known as one of the best repertoire training summer schools and festivals, and for being able to attract top-notch musicians to work with our young conductors and instrumentalists,” Thayer said. “We are thrilled to offer our students a vigorous, challenging and supportive environment in which they can further hone their skills and grow as musicians.”

Thayer stressed the 2020 educational program and festival will only go on if the virus wanes and conditions are safe.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our musicians, guest artists, audience, staff and community,” Thayer said. “Should health and other concerns necessitate the postponing or rescheduling of the 77th season, we will do so.

Ticket prices cost $15 per adult and admission is free students. Youth under 18 are admitted for free with an adult. For more information, visit or email [email protected]

Letitia Baldwin

Letitia Baldwin

Arts Editor at The Ellsworth American
In addition to editing the Arts & Leisure section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden and Get Ready for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Ill, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Isles. [email protected]
Letitia Baldwin

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