Palm Beach Symphony Prepares For 46th Season
With the appointment of acclaimed conductor Gerard Schwarz as music director and CEO David McClymont's continuing determination to increase the footprint and visibility of this world-class orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony (PBS) is preparing to launch its 46th season.
The public is responding enthusiastically and subscriptions have increased 40% to date for the new season which highlights include performances in new venues, programs featuring living composers as well as traditional fare, new audience experiences and educational programming that last season served more than 17,500 students.
"Palm Beach Symphony was founded in 1974 to provide a professional orchestra in Palm Beach," said McClymont. "To survive today and ensure an audience well into the future, we have had to grow and expand. That means venturing well into Palm Beach County as well as more recent performances in greater South Florida. In addition, we've become a significant resource for our community through educational and outreach initiatives."
Since 2014, under McClymont's leadership, PBS has been in the black the past five seasons and the $2.3 million proposed budget for the 2019-20 season represents an increase of more than 20% percent over the prior year. During this time, PBS introduced a chamber concert music series and insider previews to increase earned income while also growing corporate sponsorships and adding new donor opportunities.
This transformational growth enabled the orchestra to offer the music director position in May to Gerard Schwarz. Maestro Schwarz also serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, and Mozart Orchestra of New York and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. He is Distinguished Professor of Music at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Maestro Schwarz was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has a total discography of more than 350 recordings, seven Emmy® Awards, 14 GRAMMY® nominations, and eight ASCAP Awards.
In his first PBS season, Schwarz designed a five-concert Masterworks Series featuring a diverse roster of renowned guest soloists in programs that spotlight women as composers and musicians. Schwarz will conduct three of the concerts joined by: pianist Horacio Gutiérrez in an all-Beethoven program; violinist Chee-Yun performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor in a program that includes the Florida premiere of Augusta Read Thomas' "Plea for Peace;" and young accordion sensation Hanzhi Wang, who will perform Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra by Paul Creston.
Guest conductor José Luis-Novo makes his first appearance with the Palm Beach Symphony in an essentially Mozart program with PBS soloists. Guest conductor David Zinman closes out the Masterworks Series with the Florida premiere of "Climbing Tomorrow" by HyeKyung Lee and Gershwin's piano concerto performed by award-winning pianist and recording artist Misha Dichter as part of his 75th birthday celebration tour.
In its third season, the Chamber Music Series features: Marika Bournaki and a screening of I am not a Rock Star which follows the tumultuous coming-of-age story of this Juilliard-trained concert pianist; Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) performed to the 1984 award-winning animated film, The Soldier's Tale; and a program featuring music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and American composer Richard Danielpour ("String Quartet No. 6").
This fall, the Palm Beach Symphony is presenting its inaugural three-event Meet the Artist Series of meet-and-greet cocktail receptions with Symphony musicians: principal violist Chauncey Patterson; Marc Reese, principal trumpet; and Nadine Asin, principal flute. That's in addition to Symphony Sessions, a lunch and learn experience offering extensive insights on each Masterworks concert.
Palm Beach Symphony will present a free concert for families this fall as well as free performances for Palm Beach County and Broward County students including a company debut in Miramar at the Miramar Cultural Center/Artspark. With inspiration taken from the phases of the moon and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, One Small Step is told through the adventures of a very special inquisitive moon rock and a program of Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and selections from his "A Lincoln Portrait" as well as selections from Williams' Star Wars score and Tower's "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman." Other Palm Beach Symphony educational programs include pre- and post-concert workshops, artist-in-residence programs, teacher resources and instrument donations.