Conductor & Staff

Below are the professional musicians dedicated to teaching, coaching and supporting the Maine Youth Orchestra

Paul Ross, Previous Director

Paul Ross studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music, went on to receive a Performance Degree in Cello with a sub-major in Conducting from the Juilliard School. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music from Colby College. His principal teachers have been Leonard Rose and members of the Juilliard and Paganini String Quartets.Mr. Ross has been principal cellist with the Robert Shaw Chorale, Quebec Symphony, Florida Symphony, Boston Opera, and Boston Ballet. He has also performed with the Boston Symphony, the CBC Radio Orchestra, and the Boston Pops.  He also conducts the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.  He teaches cello and coaches chamber music at Bowdoin and Colby Colleges.

Ray Libby, Winds and Percussion Coach

Ray Libby graduated from the University of Maine Orono with a B. A. in music education and a minor in English. Ray has taught in various Maine schools and retired as instrumental music director at Brunswick High School. He has spent many summers at various music camps, has played clarinet in many Orchestras, and has been a solo clarinetist for the past 21 years with the Casco Bay Concert Band. He plays multiple woodwinds in several area jazz bands including the Mount Washington Hotel Big Band, Phil Rich Big Band and the Mike Willette Swing Band. He performs in pit orchestras for productions throughout Maine including: The Best of Broadway at the Merrill Auditorium, The Portland Players, The Freeport Players, The Ogunquit Playhouse, and the Maine State Music Theater. Ray lives in Brunswick with his wonderful wife Jean and their dog Lila.

Jeanie Wester, Strings Coach

Jeanie Wester has a BS from Wittenberg University in Chemistry and a MS in Environmental Science from the University of Maine. Ms. Wester teaches viola, violin, and piano in Yarmouth, Maine. She has been a member of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Maine Chamber Ensemble, Maine State Ballet Orchestra, and Maine Promusica.  She has been the violist in Southern Maine String Quartet and Northern Lights String Quartet for many years.  Ms Wester has been a part of the Maine Youth Orchestra since 1983 when it was the Brunswick Regional Youth Orchestra and has been a board member, string coach, librarian or orchestra manager since that time.  All four of her children have played in MYO. Supporting string education has been a rudimentary part of her life.  An example of the connection between science and music, in the summer she volunteers with Friends of Casco Bay collecting data on the water quality of Maine's beautiful Casco Bay.

Jennifer Turmel, Assistant Strings Coach

Jennifer Turmel has an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Oregon.  She currently teaches chemistry at SMCC and is active in the homeschooling community, teachng violin and viola and tutoring chemistry. She has played violin with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra and the Cathedral musicians and volunteered with the Maine Youth Orchestra for two years before becoming an assistant strings coach. When she isn't teaching math, science, or music Jennifer enjoys knitting and spending time wit her family.

Ben Noyes, First Semester Interim Conductor

Ben Noyes

Benjamin Noyes grew up in Portland, inheriting a rich musical/pedagogical heritage from his parents. He found local acclaim immediately and while attending Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Irene Sharp invited him to study in San Francisco where he attended the School of the Arts and San Francisco Conservatory’s preparatory division. He won numerous awards, including top prizes in NFAA’s ARTS Recognition, National Federation of Music Clubs, and National ASTA competitions, as well as being selected by Yo-Yo Ma to participate as soloist and recitalist throughout China to perform with the Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzen and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras. As a fellowship recipient he attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Festival, and Meadowmount. As an undergraduate, he attended Eastman School of Music, received his BM from Rice University and his MM from Northwestern University where he participated in the Chicago Symphony’s Civic Orchestra program playing under maestros Pierre Boulez, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Daniel Barenboim, amongst others. He held a position with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and various summer opera orchestras for five years before moving to Virginia to focus on teaching and performing. A multi-faceted individual, Benjamin has as many talents as interests. After a year playing with the Roanoke Symphony, Roanoke Opera Orchestra, Miami Symphony and adjunct faculty at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Ben is building a private studio and continues to garner acclaim for performances of solo recital programs, chamber ensemble concerts as well as various non-classical ventures. Pursuing the artist’s life has led him to collaborations and performances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as teaching, coaching, and motivating individuals of all ages and professions. He also finds joy in many areas including but not limited to composing, recording, producing, drawing and writing.


Ben Richmond, Second Semester Interim Conductor

Ben Richmond 

Ben David Richmond is a conductor, composer, and audio engineer currently serving as Associate Conductor of the Southern Maine Symphony, Conductor with the USM Composers Ensemble, and Rehearsal Conductor of the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. For the 2018-19 season, he will also be serving as Interim Conductor with the North Shore Philharmonic and the Maine Youth Orchestra.

As a composer, Richmond has written three symphonies, three ballets, two string quartets, and a list of other works ranging from unaccompanied solo to full ensemble.

As an audio engineer, Richmond has worked with Eighth Blackbird, InVoice Chicago Recording Studio, the University of Chicago, North Park University, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier's Crystal Garden Ballroom, Victory Gardens Theater, and many others.