FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 22, 2024) — The Southwest Florida Symphony, the only professional orchestra in Lee County and the fourth oldest orchestra in the state, announces bittersweetly that its music director, Radu Paponiu, has accepted a position with the world-renowned San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra as its music director. Therefore, Maestro Paponiu has tendered his resignation to the Southwest Florida Symphony and will not continue his engagement with the orchestra through its 64th season. This comes on the heels of Maestro Paponiu’s wife, Blair, winning the associate principal flute position with the San Francisco Symphony last year.

“There was a unique and special chemistry between Radu and the musicians of our orchestra,” says Amy Ginsburg, the Southwest Florida Symphony’s Chief Executive Officer. “While this is a phenomenal opportunity for Radu to further his career, he will be deeply missed by all of us in the Southwest Florida Symphony family. We wish him and Blair all the success in the world. The San Francisco Symphony is so fortunate to count Radu and Blair among the exceptional talent in their ranks. We look forward to seeing where their careers take them next.”

Maestro Paponiu went on to say, “I will forever cherish making music with the extraordinary musicians of the Southwest Florida Symphony and sharing it with our wonderful community. While excited about the opportunities ahead, I am also grateful for our work together and I will miss being a part of the Southwest Florida Symphony family.”

About Southwest Florida Symphony

The Southwest Florida Symphony debuted 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 the fourth oldest in the state. In the coming weeks, it will announce its 64th season lineup of performances and guest conductors. In the meantime, The Southwest Florida Symphony concludes its 63rd season of excellence with 70s-80s-90s Unplugged, featuring the dazzling arrangements of the orchestra’s tradition of artistic excellence and innovation. Maestro Paponiu, the sixth music director in the organization’s history, also served 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,