Fort Myers, FL – The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra and the fourth oldest in the state, announces its greatly anticipated 2022-2023 season lineup of performances. The Symphony’s 62nd season features a new, yet locally beloved Music Director on the podium, one of classical music’s most celebrated violinists and innovative music by diverse and groundbreaking composers.

The Symphony softly opens its season in October with a TinyConcert – MiniMasterworks, featuring the orchestra’s exceptional professional musicians who will perform the Mendelssohn Octet and Mozart String Quartet No. 19. The Masterworks Classical Concert Series features world renowned guest violinist, Gil Shaham, the return of Sphinx Competition winner, cellist, Thomas Mesa and partnerships with Opera Naples and Naples based Grand Piano Series. The Pops Series has evolved into Brave New Pops; innovative programming where the orchestra co-stars in groundbreaking performances of fusion concerts, multimedia presentations and orchestral arrangements of contemporary rock & roll. This year’s Brave New Pops features the long-awaited music of Elton John in Remember When Rock Was Young, the Ocala Symphony’s Music Director Matt Wardell with his program, Heroes: Bowie & Glass, featuring his fusion of David Bowie and classical composer Phillip Glass, and the return of local favorite, Steve Hackman with his Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue fusion. We’re also excited to present a new Christmas tradition with a Holiday Pops program that’s been uniquely created for the Southwest Florida Symphony by a regular visitor to the Symphony stage; an audience and orchestra favorite alike, Maestro Andrew Lipke, who has curated the SWFLSO Christmas Show!, which will appear at three locations between Lee and Charlotte Counties.

Further details on the Symphony’s 62nd season are available by calling (239) 418-1500 or online at WWW.SWFLSO.ORG. Season subscriptions and single tickets to some individual concerts are currently on sale.

The Symphony’s 62nd Season Details


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465 “Dissonance”

Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-Flat Major, Op. 20

Tribby Arts Center at Shell Point – Thursday, October 13, 2022 Time TBD

The Gulf Theater, Punta Gorda – Friday, October 14, 2022, Time TBD

Bell Tower, Fort Myers – Saturday, October 15, 2022, Time TBD

Holiday Pops

Andrew Lipke, Guest Artist

The SWFLSO Christmas Show!

The Gulf Theater, Punta Gorda – Sunday, December 11, 2022, Time TBD

Village Church at Shell Point – Monday, December 12, 2022, Time TBD

First Presbyterian, Bonita Springs –Tuesday, December 13, 2022, Time TBD


Brave New Pops 1

Remember When Rock Was Young: The Elton John Tribute

Charlotte Performing Arts Center – Friday, January 20, 2023, Time TBD

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall — Saturday, January 21, 2023, 7:30pm


Brave New Pops 2

Bowie And Glass: A Symphonic Tribute

Big Arts Sanibel – Friday, February 10, 2023, Time TBD

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall – Saturday, February 11, 2023 | 7:30pm

Sunday | February 12, 2023 | 7pm?

Charlotte Performing Arts Center


Brave New Pops 3

Bohemian Rhapsody In Blue

Steve Hackman, Conductor

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall – Saturday, May 6, 2023, 7:30pm

Charlotte Performing Arts Center – Sunday, May 7, 2023, Time TBD


Masterworks 1

Radu Paponiu, Conductor

Gil Shaham, Violin

Saturday, January 28, 2023, 7:30pm

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute, K. 620: Overture

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto In G Minor, Op.80

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Masterworks 2

Radu Paponiu, Conductor

Thomas Mesa, Cello

Saturday, March 11, 2023, 7:30pm

Jessie Montgomery: Overture

Antonín Dvořák: Cello Concerto In B Minor, Op. 104

Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations

Masterworks 3

Radu Paponiu, Conductor

Partnership with Opera Naples

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 7:30pm

A Night At The Opera returns with various popular arias.

Masterworks 4

Radu Paponiu, Conductor

Ying Li, Piano

Saturday, April 22, 2023, 7:30pm

Partnership With Grand Piano Series Of Naples

Jennifer Higdon: Blue Cathedral

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18

Modest Mussorgsky (Arr. Ravel): Pictures At An Exhibition

About Radu Paponiu

Radu Paponiu is Artistic and Music Director of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Naples Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Since 2017, Radu has conducted the Naples Philharmonic in more than 100 different classical, education and pops programs. As a guest conductor, Radu has appeared with the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, Banatul Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, California Young Artists Symphony, and National Repertory Orchestra. Radu has collaborated with notable soloists such as Yefim Bronfman, Midori, Vladimir Feltsman, Robert Levin, Nancy Zhou, Stella Chen, and the Ébène Quartet. Radu has served as cover conductor with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and he has assisted conductors including Andrey Boreyko, Iván Fischer, Fabio Luisi, Stéphane Denève, Hans Graf, Donald Runnicles, Cristian Măcelaru, Bernard Labadie and Ludovic Morlot. Radu has served on the conducting faculty of the Juilliard Pre-College, as well as conductor for the Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Shanghai, China, and the Southeast Asia Music Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Radu completed his Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Hugh Wolff. While in Boston, Radu was also conductor apprentice with the Handel and Haydn Society. In the summer of 2017, Radu was appointed assistant conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado, as well as conducting fellow for the Cabrillo Festival Workshop in California. Radu participated in the prestigious American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School as the recipient of both the Albert Tipton Aspen Fellowship and the David A. Karetsky Memorial Fellowship. In Aspen, Radu furthered his studies under the guidance of Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers and Federico Cortese.

Radu began his musical studies on the violin at age 7, studying privately with Carmen Runceanu and Ștefan Gheorghiu. After coming to the United States at the invitation of the Perlman Music Program, Radu completed two degrees in violin performance under the guidance of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. As a soloist and chamber musician, Radu has appeared in festivals throughout Europe and North America, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Clive Greensmith, Martin Beaver, Merry Peckham and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein.

Radu currently resides in Naples, Florida, with his wife, flutist Blair Francis Paponiu. In his spare time, he enjoys chamber music reading parties, fishing, biking and playing tennis.

More information about Maestro Paponiu may be found HERE.

About the Southwest Florida Symphony

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 musicians, and is Lee County’s only fully professional orchestra. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 62nd year continues the orchestra’s tradition of artistic excellence as newly appointed Music Director, Maestro Radu Paponiu, leads his inaugural 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.

More information about the Southwest Florida Symphony may be found HERE.

Our Generous Sponsors

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 2022-23 sponsor list includes The City of Fort Myers, The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The Florida Council on Arts & Culture, The Lee County Visitors Convention Bureau, The Southwest Florida Symphony Endowment Foundation, The Cape Coral Community Foundation, The Southwest Florida Symphony Society, The L.A.T. Foundation, The Ned and Claibourne Foulds Foundation, Uhler & Vertich Financial Planners, Ellie Fox, The Bell Tower, Gary Niethamer and Sue Purcell, Radiology Regional, Liz Marnul, Burgess Brant Consulting Engineers, Florida Weekly, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Business Professional Insights, Ernie Fogg Sr. and Margot Flinn, Mr. Jeff Cull and Ms. Ella Nayor, Rob Diefenbach and Mr. Eric Diefenbach and JK Brown, Alex and Eunice Bremner, Anne Wardlow, Anne Kimball, Jane King in memory of Don King, Dr. and Mrs. Lowell Hart, Ken and Carol Boyd, and Robert and Reina Schlager.