FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2024) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, the only professional orchestra in Lee County and fourth oldest orchestra in the state, is excited to announce world-renowned pianist Alexandra Carlson will perform the third Masterworks concert of the season on Saturday, Feb. 3. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. Conducted by Maestro Radu Paponiu, “From Darkness to Light” will transport audiences from the musical darkness of the Holocaust with powerful pieces culminating in the light of Dvorak’s glowing 8th Symphony.

The enchanting evening includes a lineup that celebrates a rich tapestry of classical music. The concert begins with the intricate melodies of Gideon Klein’s “Partita for Strings,” a piece that weaves a spellbinding story through its harmonious strings. Then, the spotlight shines on the talented Alexandra Carlson, who will take patrons on a thrilling journey with Prokofiev’s dynamic “Piano Concerto No. 3.” Her skillful touch will bring the concerto’s complex emotions and vibrant energy to life. Following an intermission, the lush landscapes of Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 8 in G major,” filled with warmth and joy, providing the perfect representation of Dvořák’s love for his Bohemian homeland.

As part of the symphony’s signature series, patrons also have the opportunity to attend an exclusive pre-concert lecture led by Carlson 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.

Celebrated for her “transcendent precision” and “soulful playing,” Carlson has performed solo and chamber piano works throughout the United States, Europe and Russia. She has won prizes at the London International Piano Competition (England), the Valentino Bucci International Competition (Italy), the Maria Yudina International Piano Competition (Russia), and the Hopes, Talents, Master Competition (Bulgaria). Carlson earned her master of piano performance and doctorate of musical arts, cum laude, from the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, and was awarded a fellowship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra by the New Horizons Project (United States). She recently made her debut as a conductor with Classic Chamber Concerts through the Naples Community Concert Orchestra.

In addition to the Southwest Florida Symphony, Carlson has performed as a soloist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra. Her festival performances include the Atlantic Music Festival, The Rachmaninoff Festival, the US-Russia Education Bridge Project Festival and the Baltic International Piano Duo Festival. As part of her piano duo with Karina Sposobina, Carlson performed throughout Europe and Russia and was featured at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, the Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall and on TVRC “Peterburg” radio in Russia.

A devoted chamber musician, Carlson has frequently performed in the chamber concert series of Classic Chamber Concerts; the Guest Artists Recital Series of the Bower School of Music, Florida Gulf Coast University; and the Sypert Salon Series of Artis-Naples. She has performed with Julian Rachlin and Sarah McElravy, members of the Jasper String Quartet, and the Amernet String Quartet; Nikki Chooi and Raymond Gniewek, the Metropolitan Opera concertmasters; David Kim, the Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster; Sergei Dogadin, the Tchaikovsky Competition winner; and with, Roman Burdenko and Alexander Gergalov, the Mariinsky Theatre soloists.

An active advocate for contemporary music, Carlson has performed works by a broad range of composers, including Leonid Desyatnikov, Eric Ewazen, Don Freund, Alexander Goldstein, Rene Orth, Georgs Pelecis, Robert Paterson, Anna Segal, Daniel Shapiro, Rodion Shschedrin, James Stephenson, and Joseph Turrin. As part of her Contemporary Ensemble Fellowship at the Atlantic Music Festival, she performed twenty-three different world premieres in a one-month period.

A versatile collaborative recording artist, Carlson can be heard with trumpeter Mary Bowden on the award-winning album, “Radiance,” featuring Joseph Hallman’s new composition “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano.” Her album “Parallax,” recorded with violinist Daniela Shtereva, was released in 2019.

Carlson currently teaches piano performance and chamber music as adjunct professor of music at Ave Maria University (United States). As a passionate educator, she began her career in education as head of the curriculum and instrumental departments at The Ohktinsky Centre for Aesthetic Education (Russia), where she was later appointed deputy director. She then joined the piano faculty at the Institute for Economics, Culture & Business Administration (Russia).

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

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,