As best as can be determined the Providence Mandolin Orchestra (PMO) was first founded in 1914, marking 2014 as the group’s centenary. Newspaper articles and programs tell us of performances from the early era with Giuseppe Pettine and William Place Jr., both premier mandolin virtuosos in the United States during the instrument’s “Golden Age”. The modern version of the PMO dates from 1971, when it was revived by Hibbard Perry, who had been a student of Pettine’s. Over the past four decades the PMO has become the leading American mandolin ensemble with regular performances throughout the eastern United States and Western Europe.
The PMO champions the performance of contemporary music for mandolin ensemble, including many pieces written for the group. In the past several years the PMO has given world or American premieres of new works by Clarice Assad, Betty Beath, Richard Charlton, Jim Dalton, Owen Hartford, Victor Kioulaphides, Annette Kruisbrink, Stephen Lalor, Olaf Naslund, Michael Nix, Robert Schultz, Emile Stopler, Caroline Szeto, Francine Trester, Frank Wallace, and August Watters. Also over the past several years the PMO has embarked on an ambitious program of collaborative performances with leading European mandolin ensembles, including Het Consort (The Netherlands); the Ensemble a Plectre de Toulouse (France); the JZO NRW (Germany); and the Orchestra of the International Mandolin Academy (Italy), and the Saarländisches Zupforchester (Germany).
Since 1989 the PMO has been directed by Mark Davis. Davis began his guitar and mandolin studies with Hibbard Perry, and continued his studies with the pioneering German guitarist/conductor/composer Siegfried Behrend from whom he inherited his fascination with contemporary forms of musical expression.
For the latest news and general information about the mandolin and its music, find the Providence Mandolin Orchestra on