Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra Performs in Calais

By Lura Jackson

The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra gave its premier performance in Calais on November 17th at the First Congregational Church. The internationally esteemed conductor and violinist Trond Saeverud guided the ensemble of exceptional local talent through a series of complex pieces, highlighted by the guest appearance of Japanese pianist Mai Goto. 

The softly lit interior of the church provided a picturesque setting for the 40-musician orchestra, and the high ceilings were sufficient in conveying a wide range of acoustic harmonies. Saeverud’s precise gestures lent emphasis to each variance in tempo, clearly demonstrating his renowned aptitude for conducting. “We are very happy to play today,” Saeverud said with a Norwegian lilt as he introduced the first piece, the bombastic prelude from La Forza del Destino (“The Force of Destiny”) by Verdi.

Mai Goto was born in Japan, and attended the Osaka University of Music before studying at the Liszt Academy in Budapest and then the Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway, completing her Master’s degree in 2012. She has earned multiple awards in Japan for her musical capability, and was awarded first place at the “24th International Music Competition Rovero d’Oro” in Italy in 2009.

Based in Eastport, the PBSO was founded in 2007 as a constituent of the Eastport Arts Center, and it presently hosts a number of gifted, award-winning musicians that call the extended Washington County area home. Symphony series are conducted in the spring and fall seasons (visit their Facebook site at to follow upcoming shows).