ProMusica Chamber Orchestra music director Tim Russell

No, not this guy.

This guy.

We've done scores of pieces on and with ProMusica's Timothy Russell, who co-founded the ensemble in the late 70s. On our Facebook page, we said "In the 15 or so years we've been doing The Beat, there are some folks in the arts community from who we've learned a lot and with whom we've been privileged to develop relationships. ProMusica Chamber Orchestra's Tim Russell, in his last season as music director, is one of them for sure."

The most recent concerns Russell's final subscription concert as ProMusica's music director. Russell offered insights into the group's history and his thoughts at this "changing of the guard" as well as this weekend's concerts themselves. We packed as much as we could in the available space.

But to add on a couple fronts:

He said the early sell was difficult because people didn't get the need. Russell said that the depth of arts organizations in a city is part of what determines its quality, and that a chamber orchestra is important in a "major" city. He said he and co-founder Richard early modeled ProMusica after the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, given that it was another midwestern city not dissimilar to Columbus in size and development.

But from a programming standpoint, it was a "little harder sell. Haydn of course has 100-plus symphonies, and yeah the Columbus Symphony can play them," but they weren't doing it in a way that reflected the original instrumentation and, thus, the sound, of the piece.

Russell said he never intended the two orchestras to be in competition. "Sure, people do have to make choices, but our idea was more than a rising tide lifts all boats."

Russell also talked some about moving on. He made it clear he's not retiring from conducting, that he will continue to serve on the faculty at Arizona State University (he has made his home in Arizona for a number of years now) and will conduct with the Phoenix ballet and do guest conducting, but that the time was right. He said the organization is strong, and that it needs a music director who makes his primary home in Columbus, which muic director designate David Danzmayr will do.

Russell said "I remind people that ProMusica means 'For Music.' That's how I've always tried to be, working for the music and for the organization. Richard and I would often talk about thinking beyond our tenure."

"I've tried to be a low-maintenance maestro, to serve the music and the organization, so it would live on."