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Southwest Florida Symphony Announces Season 63 Lineup

REM explored PHOTOGRAPH OF J FARLEY AND THE WINSTON-SALEM SYMPHONY / COURTESY PHOTO

REM explored PHOTOGRAPH OF J FARLEY AND THE WINSTON-SALEM SYMPHONY / COURTESY PHOTO

The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra with musicians who have studied at the world’s most prestigious conservatories, announced an innovative and diverse lineup of performances for the 2023-24 season. Music Director, Maestro Radu Paponiu, leads the orchestra through its 63rd season of classical music’s most celebrated works, many of which are interwoven with innovative pieces.

The symphony opens the season on October 21 with Brave New Pops, “REM Explored” featuring selections from REM’s legendary playlist newly imagined for the orchestra, featuring REM’s Mike Mills performing his eponymous “Fiddle Concerto, Rock Band and Orchestra” alongside Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie.

On November 4, the orchestra will merge Masterworks and Brave New Pops Concert, mixing classical masterpieces with jazz. The symphony and Marcus Roberts Jazz Trio will perform a jazz arrangement of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in honor of the piece’s 100th anniversary. Also on the show are Aaron Copland’s iconic “Four Episodes” from “Rodeo,” John Williams’ “Star Wars Suite” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story.” Masterworks’ remaining classical concert series will feature extraordinary guest artists including Time for Three violinist Charles Yang, beloved local pianist Alexandra Carlson, Southwest Florida Symphony concertmaster Orin Laursen, and Sphinx Competition winner and cello prodigy, Sterling Elliot.

The third and final Brave New Pops Concert 2023-24 will take place on May 18, 2024 and will delight audiences with a nostalgic throwback to the ’80s and ’90s with tunes from the acoustic concert days of music TV, featuring guest teacher Andrew Lipke. In addition, Lipke will present the symphony’s special Holiday Pops program at four venues in Lee and Charlotte counties.

Season subscriptions and individual tickets for select concerts are currently on sale.

To purchase tickets or learn more, visit swflso.org/tickets/.

The Southwest Florida Symphony made its debut as a community orchestra on April 15, 1961, playing in schools and community centers, with a roster of only 24 volunteer musicians. Today, the symphony boasts a roster of 70 world-class professional musicians and is the only fully professional orchestra in Lee County and the fourth oldest in the state. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 63rd year continues the orchestra’s tradition of artistic excellence and innovation as Music Director Maestro Radu Paponiu leads another season of spectacular performances. Maestro Paponiu, the sixth music director in the organization’s history, also serves as associate conductor and youth conductor of the Naples Philharmonic, as well as guest conductor with orchestras in the United States and Europe.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Symphony, upcoming season’s performances, and ticketing and subscription information, visit swflso.org or call 239-418-1500. ¦



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