FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 28, 2023) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, the only professional orchestra in Lee County and fourth oldest orchestra in the state, is excited to announce Grammy award-winning artist Charles Yang will perform the second Masterworks concert of the season on Saturday, Jan. 6. “Beethoven No. 5 and the British Invasion” begins at 7:30 p.m. at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. Yang, a renowned violinist, will perform as Maestro Radu Paponiu leads one of Beethoven’s most well-known symphonic pieces and the most recognizable piece of classical music in history, “Symphony No. 5 in C minor,” as well as a mix of classical and contemporary favorites such as “Blackbird” by the Beatles, “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals, “Tzigane” by Maurice Ravel, “Csárdás” by Vittorio Monti and “Entr’acte” by famed composer Caroline Shaw.

As part of the symphony’s signature series, patrons will also have the opportunity to attend an exclusive pre-concert lecture prior to the show led by Yang and Paponiu, including a Q&A session, to enhance the concert experience and provide insights into the pieces being performed. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

A 2018 recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award, Yang has been described as one who “plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star.” The Juilliard graduate began his violin studies with his mother, Sha Zhu, in Austin, Texas, a city renowned for musical innovation, and has since studied with world-renowned instructors Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China and Taiwan. In June 2005, the mayor of Austin presented Yang with his own “Charles Yang Day.” In 2016, he joined the multi-genre string-band Time for Three as violinist and lead singer.

In addition to his classical expertise, Yang’s improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist and vocalist have led him to featured performances at festivals and some of the world’s most celebrated venues such as Carnegie Hall, Musikverein, Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Berlin, Rudolfinum, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royal Danish Theatre, Joe’s Pub, ACL Live, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Forbidden City in Beijing. He has performed in the presence of two former United States presidents and the Queen of Denmark. He has shared the stage in collaborations with artists including Peter Dugan, Michael Thurber and CDZA, Steve Miller, Jesse Colin Young, Joshua Bell, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Benson, Savion Glover, Twyla Tharp, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste.

An adventurous composer, arranger, songwriter and collaborator, Yang’s works have been featured in projects for Glamour and Pentagram. In 2021, he co-wrote the original score to Robin Wright’s 2021 feature film, “Land.” Time for Three’s album, “Letters for the Future” with Xian Zhang and The Philadelphia Orchestra featuring concertos written by Kevin Puts and Jennifer Higdon, won the 2023 Grammy award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo.” Yang has also been featured in Nick Romeo’s book, “Driven” as well as Discovery Channel’s “Curiosity.”

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s Masterworks series is sponsored by Uhler Vertich White Advisors and the L.A.T. Foundation.

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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,