FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 22, 2022) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra and the fourth oldest in the state, is delighted to announce the appointment of retired NBC-2 Chief Meteorologist Robert Van Winkle as its new community outreach ambassador. In this role, Van Winkle will actively collaborate with current and prospective community partners to strengthen and expand the symphony’s presence throughout Southwest Florida. In addition to Van Winkle’s ambassadorship role with the symphony, he will work with the School District of Lee County to offer educational fine arts appreciation programs to its students.

“We are extremely thrilled that Robert has joined our team,” said Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the Southwest Florida Symphony. “His diverse experience and extensive community relationships will help elevate the symphony and our partnerships to the next level.”

Van Winkle brings a vast array of knowledge and experience to the Southwest Florida Symphony. Many Southwest Floridians likely remember Robert from his 31 years on the air with Waterman Broadcasting’s local NBC affiliate. During his time in broadcast journalism, he also served as master of ceremonies at countless community events, including providing educational and entertaining narratives for many of the Southwest Florida Symphony’s Night at the Opera performances.

“The opportunity to work with the symphony comes at a perfect time to immerse myself in a field I’m passionate about,” said Van Winkle. “I attended my first classical concert in fifth grade and still remember the emotion, excitement and pure joy of symphonic music. In fact, it was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 that changed my world!”

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.

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,