MEET OUR NEW ARTISTIC/MUSIC DIRECTOR, RICHARD STOELZEL
Richard Stoelzel, a highly accomplished musician and conductor, has recently been appointed as the Artistic/Music Director of the Punta Gorda Symphony. Formerly Pops conductor at The HARID Conservatory and Artistic/Music Director of The Florida Wind Symphony, he continues as the Artistic/Music Director of The Lakeshore Concert Band, Montreal, Canada, which position he has held since 2016. Currently holding the position of Professor of Trumpet and Brass Area Coordinator at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Richard is highly regarded for his expertise in trumpet performance and instruction. With a rich educational background, Richard has established himself as a respected figure in the world of music.
Richard’s passion for the arts is complemented by his dedication to martial arts, tennis, swimming, pickleball, and biking. Having conducted in various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, South America, USA, and Canada, he has gained a global perspective and diverse experiences.
His journey with the orchestra has been remarkable, starting as the principal trumpet and Personnel Manager before being appointed as the Artistic/Music Director. Richard is thrilled to collaborate with the talented musicians and work alongside the orchestra’s exceptional executive director.
Under his leadership, the orchestra is set to embark on an extraordinary journey, with an impressive lineup of guest conductors, soloists, and a captivating repertoire ranging from the music of John Williams to Mahler, Dvorak, and Gershwin. Richard’s vision includes forging partnerships with esteemed arts groups in Punta Gorda and Charlotte County, fostering a fresh and innovative direction for the orchestra.
With boundless enthusiasm and an exceptional team of musicians, Richard Stoelzel and the orchestra are poised to reach new heights, making this season the best yet and paving the way for a future filled with resounding successes.
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.
Who We Are
Punta Gorda Symphony is Charlotte County’s premier professional orchestra. From presenting world-class musicians to enriching the lives of young people and adults through educational initiatives, Punta Gorda Symphony strives to foster vibrant community connections through orchestral music.
Originally formed in 1978 as a small chamber group, we have grown in size to more than 70 professional musicians, drawing audiences from around the world.
Ming Gao, Concertmaster
Liviu Dimitrel Onofrei, Asst. Concertmaster
David Qi, Asst. Concertmaster
Judith Yanchus, Asst. Concertmaster
Maria Fernanda Urbina
Cindi Qi, Principal
Xiomara Sepúlveda Rueda
Rachel Cox, Principal
Dr. Rafael Ramirez
Juan Carlos Siviero
David Calhoun, Principal
Scott E. Crowley
Valentina Hernandez Espitia
Mikel Clayton Thomas
Laurence Glazener, Principal
Daniel Chiva Sanz
Carrie Wiesinger, Principal
David A. Suárez-Rios
Beth Larsen, Principal
Kendra Hawley, Principal
Stacey McColley, Principal
Laura Winters, Principal
Jennifer Miller, Principal
Lisa Ormston Bontrager
Robby McCabe, Principal
Timothy Conner, Principal
Aaron Chan, Principal
Michael O’Connor, Principal
Todd Handley, Principal
Miguel Angel Pagua Molina, Principal
Chris Nolin, Principal
Dickie Fleisher, Principal
Diego Davila, Principal
Professional musicians may send resumes to Personnel Manager Katherine Rodriguez at katherine@PGSymphony.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Landsberg, Chairman
Rudy Askew, Vice Chairman
Elaine Rice, Treasurer
Shaune Freeland, Secretary
Christopher Constance, M.D.
Steven Shell, D.O.
Forrest Bass, Esq.
Jennifer Bitner, Executive Director
Richard Stoelzel, Artistic and Music Director
Janet Wilcox, Business Manager
Kate Krause, Communications Manager
Jenifer Welch, Development Manager
Katherine Rodriguez, Personnel Manager
Rachel Cox, Music Librarian
Janet Wilcox, President, Symphony Friends
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. In early 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. In 1989, it was renamed the Charlotte Symphony Society, Inc., and in 2003, it became the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Inc.
Maestro Blake turned over his baton to concertmaster Janita Hauk in 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 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. In 2012, Maestro Raffaele Ponti became the orchestra’s Music Director. Under his direction, the orchestra flourished and grew in size to over 70 professional musicians. In October 2019, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was renamed Punta Gorda Symphony.
In 2023, Richard Stoelzel was named the Symphony’s Artistic/Music Director. Today, the Symphony educates, inspires, and distinguishes itself through symphonic excellence and innovation. In a recent note, 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.”