Larry Hill and a group of freelance professional musicians founded Pro Arte in 1978 as an orchestra in which players would participate in the selection of repertoire, soloists, and guest conductors. Larry was Pro Arte’s Music Director and mentor until his untimely death in 1989. Despite the loss of its founder, the Orchestra continued and is still going strong today.
He studied with Robert Shaw, Julius Hereford, Sir Thomas Beecham, and Helmuth Rilling. He was a chaplain for the Boston-Cambridge Ministry in Higher Education at Harvard University, where a major focus of his work was religion and the arts.
He was actively involved in the cultural enrichment of the Boston community since 1973 when he helped to organize the Spectrum series which culminated in the performance of 20 events during the 1977-78 season, including music, mime, poetry, and drama. He served on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where he taught music appreciation and conducting, and was director of choral activities. In the summer of 1983, he taught conducting at Harvard University. He was also the founder and Music Director of the Back Bay Chorale, which has performed often with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.
He was honored during Boston’s “Jubilee 350” celebration for his “contribution to the quality of life in the city of Boston.” For his work with Pro Arte, he received the first “Spirit of Innovation Award” in Arts & Letters from Governor Michael Dukakis.
Larry Hill died of cancer in February, 1989. The players and trustees of Pro Arte decided to continue the orchestra’s work in his memory, believing strongly that Larry would never have wanted Pro Arte to die with him.