Palm Beach Symphony To Present Piano Virtuoso Emanuel Ax And A World Premiere

March 6 concert features a new 6 p.m. concert time and the annual gala.

By: Feb. 16, 2024
Palm Beach Symphony To Present Piano Virtuoso Emanuel Ax And A World Premiere
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In a highlight of its Golden Anniversary Season, Palm Beach Symphony, under the baton of Music Director Gerard Schwarz, presents pianist superstar Emanuel Ax playing one of Mozart's greatest concertos, Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 on Wednesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. in Dreyfoos Concert Hall at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The concert is also the jewel in the setting of the orchestra's highly anticipated gala that evening.

“Our 50th Anniversary Season is a roaring success we are getting this party started early,” said Palm Beach Symphony CEO David McClymont. “We have extended the hours of this event so that we have time to both honor the music and musicians that have made us one of the nation's great orchestras as well as celebrate at the Gala and pay tribute to our generous donors who support us and allow us to make such a vital  impact on our community,” 

The evening's world premiere entitled Portraits and Diversions is the final world premiere of five works commissioned by the Symphony to mark this historic anniversary season. The work was sponsored by Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter in honor of Judy and Leonard Lauder.

“While I had the pleasure of meeting the Lauders in New York in the company of Ms. McElveen Hunter, I've gotten to know them more through the volumes of wonderful and exquisitely chosen art and photographs they've collected and shared with the world through their books and collections,” Kernis wrote for the concert's program. “During the process of creating this compact symphony, Mr. Lauder's autobiographical memoir The Company I Keep was notably inspiring for its optimism, passion and panache in relaying a life fully lived.”

In addition to his appearance with Palm Beach Symphony, Ax's current season will focus on the world premiere of Anders Hillborg's piano concerto, commissioned for him by the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen with subsequent performances in Stockholm and New York as well as a continuation of the ‘Beethoven For 3' touring and recording project with partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma. His recital performances will culminate at Carnegie Hall in April and an extensive European tour will include concerts in Holland, Italy, Germany, France and the Czech Republic. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987 and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched an ambitious, multi-year project to record all the Beethoven Trios and Symphonies arranged for the trio of which the first two discs have recently been released. He received GRAMMY Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn's piano sonatas. He has also made a series of GRAMMY-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974, won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize.

Winner of two 2019 Grammy Awards (including “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” for his violin concerto for James Ehnes), a Pulitzer Prize, Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and Nemmers Award, Aaron Jay Kernis is one of America's most performed and honored composers. His music appears prominently on concert programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by America's preeminent performing organizations and artists, including the New York and Royal Liverpool Philharmonics, San Francisco, Toronto, and Melbourne (AU) Symphonies, Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber and Minnesota Orchestras, Walt Disney Company, The Knights, San Francisco Girls and Brooklyn Youth Choruses, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Sharon Isbin to name a few. His works have been recorded on Nonesuch, Naxos, Phoenix, Onyx, Signum, Virgin Cedille, and Argo, with which Mr. Kernis had an exclusive recording contract, and many other labels. Kernis teaches composition at Yale School of Music and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Classical Music Hall of Fame.


The GRAMMY-nominated American conductor Gerard Schwarz — internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming, and extensive catalog of recordings — serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, Palm Beach Symphony, and Mozart Orchestra of New York. He is also Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. Schwarz is the Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra. In his over five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including nine Emmy Awards, 14 GRAMMY nominations, eight ASCAP Awards, and the Ditson Conductor's Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. The City of Seattle named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place” in his honor. Learn more at

The 50th Anniversary Season Gala held at the Cohen Pavilion at the Kravis Center begins with pre-concert cocktails at 5 p.m. and culminates with a post-concert dinner dance at 8 p.m. The Gala is chaired by Cathie Black and Tom Harvey with Gala Honorary Chairs Patrick and Milly Park. To learn more about gala tickets, contact or by phone at 561-568-0265.

As Palm Beach Symphony celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season, anonymous donors have stepped forward to ensure the nonprofit's continued growth with a one-for-one matching campaign that will double any donations made to the Symphony up to $500,000. To make a donation visit

The 2023-2024 Masterworks Series concludes with Ignat Solzhenitsyn, piano on Thursday, April 25. 


Tickets to the concert are $25-$95 and may be purchased online at, by phone at (561) 281-0145 and at the Palm Beach Symphony Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 700 South Dixie Highway, Suite 100, West Palm Beach. The Kravis Center is 701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL  33401.


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