Palm Beach Symphony Opens Season With All-Beethoven Program And 127 Voices In Ode To Joy

Palm Beach Symphony’s new Music Director Gerard Schwarz (photo by Indiehouse Films)

Palm Beach Symphony (PBS) opens its landmark 46th season in spectacular fashion with an all-Beethoven Masterworks Series program featuring Cuban-American pianist Horacio Gutiérrez, four acclaimed soloists, three local choirs of 127 voices and the inaugural concert of award-winning classical musician and conductor Gerard Schwarz as the Symphony’s music director on Sunday, December 8 at 3 p.m. at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Jerry to the podium in his official role as music director to lead off this season of internationally acclaimed artists and local collaborations,” said PBS CEO David McClymont. “Our audiences have responded enthusiastically with record ticket sales, subscriptions and donor support.”

Schwarz was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has a total discography of more than 350 recordings, seven Emmy Awards, 14 GRAMMY nominations, and eight ASCAP Awards. Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, he also serves as Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival and Mozart Orchestra of New York, and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival.

In the opening concert Canopy of Stars, Emmy Award-winner Gutiérrez joins the Symphony as guest soloist for Piano Concerto №4 in G Major, Op. 5 including the vivid second movement for piano and strings that is often called “Orpheus taming the Furies.” Symphony №9 in D Minor, Op. 125, also known as the Choral Symphony, delivers a rousing close to the program in the “Ode to Joy” final movement, which will be performed by guest artists soprano Sandra Lopez, mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon, tenor Stuart Neill, bass-baritone Clayton Brainerd and the Palm Beach Atlantic University Oratorio Chorus with The Choral Society of the Palm Beaches and The Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches.

Considered one of the great pianists of our time, Gutiérrez is consistently praised by critics and audiences alike for the poetic insight and technical mastery he brings to a diverse repertoire. He appears regularly with the world’s greatest orchestras and has given recitals in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland. As a Chamber Musician, he has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Cleveland Quartets, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1982, he was the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. His recordings include Rachmaninoff ‘s Piano Concerti Nos. 2 and 3 with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. His recording, George Perle: A Retrospective, was named one of the ten best recordings of 2006 by The New Yorker.

A previous first prize winner of the Palm Beach Opera Competition, Lopez has toured with Andrea Bocelli and appeared with the Metropolitan Opera in numerous roles which include Catherine in Bolcom’s View From The Bridge and Frasquita in Carmen. This soprano’s upcoming engagements include the title role in Florida Grand Opera’s Madama Butterfly and Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth with Opera North.

Firmly established as one of the finest leading ladies and mezzo-sopranos of this generation, Redmon has performed in the world’s greatest opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsopera, Opéra de Marseilles, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Opéra Montréal, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Minnesota Opera.

A Verdi tenor, Neill has performed the Verdi Requiem more than 250 times including the historic ‘live’ recording with the London Symphony under Colin Davis. He appears at The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro La Fenice, Vienna Staatsoper, The Royal Opera Covent Garden, Teatro Colon, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Dresden’s Staatskapelle.

An award-winning bass-baritone, Brainerd has sung leading roles with the major orchestras and opera companies of the world under the baton of conductors including Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwarz, Charles Dutoit, Zdenek Macal, Jeffery Tate, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Christophe von Dohnanyi and James Levine. He has thrilled audiences in Europe, New Zealand, Canada, North and South America, Korea and Japan.

Founded in 1990 for students to study and perform choral masterpieces, Palm Beach Atlantic University Oratorio Chorus will be joined by The Choral Society of the Palm Beaches, composed of volunteer singers from Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and members of the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches.

A pre-concert lobby performance will be offered by Park Vista High Scholl choir “Prima” under the direction of Bryan Anthony Ijames.

Tickets range from $20 — $100. Audiences are invited to “Brush up on Beethoven,” in a Lunch & Learn session for the concert hosted by Schwarz on Thursday, December 5 at noon at Table 26, 1700 S. Dixie Hwy in West Palm Beach. Tickets are $99 and offer a 10% discount when purchased with a ticket to the concert. Tickets are available online at; by phone at (561) 281–0145; or by visiting the Palm Beach Symphony Box Office, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Kravis Center is located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd in West Palm Beach.


Palm Beach Symphony is South Florida’s premier orchestra known for its diverse repertoire and commitment to community. Founded in 1974, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization adheres to a mission of engaging, educating, and entertaining the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The orchestra is celebrated for delivering spirited performances by first-rate musicians and distinguished guest artists. Now in its 46th season, Palm Beach Symphony continues to expand its education and community outreach programs with children’s concerts, student coaching sessions and master classes, instrument donations, and free public concerts. For more information, visit

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Celebrating 46 years as South Florida’s world-class orchestra. Gerard Schwarz, Music Director

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