maestro raffaele ponti
The 2019-2020 season will be Maestro Ponti’s seventh as Music Director of our Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, which has grown and flourished under his leadership. His superb musicianship and dynamic personality have attracted professional musicians and guest artists from around the world, resulting in sold-out concerts for the past three seasons.
Ponti’s professional career began at an early age. At seventeen, he performed in the trumpet section of the Rochester Philharmonic and two years later, he became assistant principal trumpet to Bernard Adelstein of the Cleveland Orchestra.
He is the former Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Italia Konzert Opera International, where he continues as a regular Guest Conductor. For ten seasons, he served as Conductor of Education and Outreach with the Austin Symphony. Currently, he appears with prominent orchestras around the United States and Europe. He is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Paducah Symphony in Paducah, Kentucky and Director of Orchestral Studies at Florida International University.
Maestro Ponti is a champion of music education in the community with school visits, master classes and an annual Youth Concert. His community outreach also extends to adults, with his exciting Behind the Notes and pre-concert classes and his innovative program “The Symphony as a Business Model”, which has attracted new businesses and patrons to the orchestra.
His drive and vision on the podium, as well as in the community have led the symphony to earn the prestigious Charlie award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Arts”, Florida Weekly’s “Best” and Harbor Style Magazine’s “Best Performing Arts” organization. Maestro Ponti was named a “Leader of Distinction” by the Florida Weekly in September 2014. In 2015, he was honored with a Proclamation given by the Mayor and City Council Members of Punta Gorda. In December 2017, Maestro Raffaele Ponti accepted the Charlotte County School Board Award as Business Partner of the Year on behalf of the Punta Gorda Symphony to recognize his contribution to music education in our county.
Raffaele Ponti’s reviews have dubbed him a “rising star”, “charismatic”, “electrifying”, “empowering” and his audiences agree. We in Southwest Florida are indeed fortunate that he has made this his home.
Ming Gao, Concertmaster
Cindi Qi, Principal
Deborah Dansby Wells
Sun-Young Gemma Shin
Rachel Cox, Principal
Juan Carlos Siviero
Ann Alton, Principal
Larry Glazener, Principal
Chair Sponsor: Dr. Ramon A. Gil
Carrie Wiesinger, Principal
Marco Navarrete, Principal
Stacey McColley, Principal
Chair Sponsor: Carol Robinson
Janet Harris, Principal
Chair Sponsor: Jeanne and Kevin Hogan
Carlos Felipe Viña
Jennifer Miller, Principal
Edward Nagel, Assistant Principal
Cindy Scaruffi-Klispie, Principal
Alan R. Klispie
Karla Rojas, Principal
Peter Freudenberger, Principal
Todd Handley, Principal
Andrew Proctor, Principal
Chair Sponsor: Susan Galvin
Dean Anderson, Principal
Chair Sponsor: Jamie and Michael Landsberg
Miguel Angel Pagua
Isabelle Aubin, Principal
Giuseppina Ciarla, Principal
Professional musicians may inquire with our Personnel Manager Cindy Scaruffi-Klispie at cindy@PGSymphony.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Landsberg, Chairman
Steven Shell, D.O., Treasurer
M. Lee McGraw, Secretary
Christopher Constance, M.D.
Douglas Joyce, D.O.
Barbara L. Rees, PhD
Forrest Bass, Esq.
Craig Badinger, Executive Director
Elise Sherron, Operations Manager
Anne Gutsell, Office Coordinator
Cindy Scaruffi-Klispie, Personnel Manager
Isaac Mingus, Librarian
Sherry Campbell Bechtold, TEMPO Editor
Sharon MacLaren, President, Symphony Friends
The Punta Gorda Symphony engages and connects our community through orchestral music and enhances its visibility as a cultural center of interest, vitality, and importance.
The Punta Gorda Symphony began in 1978 as a small chamber group under the direction of Fred Blake. The group consisted of six retirees and two local high school students. From this humble beginning the group expanded in size, competence and repertoire. On May 27, 1987, it became incorporated under the name Charlotte Chamber Music Society, Inc. By the late 1980s it had become a full-fledged volunteer orchestra with a small and devoted following. It was renamed the Charlotte Symphony Society, Inc. on May 25, 1989 and in August, 2003, it became the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Inc.
Maestro Blake turned over his baton to concertmaster, Janita Hauk in March 1993. Maestra Hauk continued the work of Maestro Blake bringing the Orchestra to professional status with paid musicians and increased performances.
After 16 years at the podium, in April 2009, Maestra Hauk announced her retirement and was elected to Emeritus standing by the Orchestra’s Board of Directors. Maestro Toshimasa Francis Wada was brought in as the third director. Maestro Wada continued the work begun by Maestra Hauk: expansion, improvement and innovation of the music presented to the public.
The 2019-2020 season marks the seventh for Raffaele Ponti as Maestro. Under his baton, the symphony has flourished and grown in size to over 70 professional musicians drawing audiences from around the world. In October 2019, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was renamed the Punta Gorda Symphony.
Today the symphony educates, inspires, and distinguishes its identity through symphonic excellence and innovation. In a recent note to Maestro Ponti, a patron expressed it best: “Our busy lives offer little respite for times when we can just enjoy and go to the places in our hearts and minds where music alone can take us. Going to a symphony performance is far beyond just a night out.”