FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 8, 2023) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra, featuring musicians who have studied at the world’s most prestigious conservatories, is excited to announce an innovative and diverse lineup of performances for the 2023-24 season. Acclaimed music director, Maestro Radu Paponiu leads the orchestra through its 63rd season of classical music’s most celebrated works, many of which are woven with groundbreaking pieces.

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

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

The third and final 2023-24 Brave New Pops Concert will take place May 18, 2024, and delight audiences with a nostalgic throwback to the 80s and 90s featuring tunes from the days of music television’s acoustical concerts, with returning guest Maestro Andrew Lipke. Additionally, Lipke will present the symphony’s special Holiday Pops program at four venues throughout Lee and Charlotte counties.

Season subscriptions and single tickets to select concerts are currently on sale.

To purchase tickets or learn more, visit

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 Lee County’s only fully professional orchestra and 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 the associate conductor and youth orchestra director for the Naples Philharmonic in addition to guest-conducting with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

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

Amy Ginsburg, Southwest Florida Symphony, 239-418-0996,
Angela Bell, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758,