Naples Philharmonic Orchestra - Welcome
The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra is increasingly recognized as one of the leading young orchestras in the United States. In addition to regular classical, pops and chamber concerts, the orchestra has international recording credits and has accompanied such renowned artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Kiri Te Kanawa and Frederica von Stade.
The orchestra was chartered on January 23, 1983 under the laws of the state of Florida. The mission of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra is to provide Southwest Florida with a steady and eclectic diet of classical and pops concerts, featuring world-class soloists and conductors and accomplished musicians from around the world. The orchestra strives to grow in artistic excellence each season, increasing its repertoire and adding challenging programs designed to stimulate and enrich audiences of all ages. The orchestra also reaches out with special community and school programs. The 85-piece orchestra has grown each year thanks to the generous support of the community.
Naples Philharmonic Orchestra - History
The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra began as a small per service orchestra in 1983. Myra Janco Daniels, Chairman, President, and CEO has guided its growth and worked tirelessly to provide a home for the orchestra. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts opened in Naples in 1989 and is the home of the Orchestra during its 38 week performing season. The core musicians live in Naples. The full orchestra is 85 pieces.
Artistic leadership is provided by Music Director, Christopher Seaman, internationally known British conductor, who is also a frequent guest conductor in America, Australia, and many European countries. Erich Kunzel is the Orchestra’s Principal Pops conductor, leading a series of sold out concerts each season. He is the busiest pops conductor in the U. S., the conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, and has recorded 100 albums mostly on the Telarc label.
In 1997, the Orchestra’s first commercial recording on the Telarc label was released. The CD included three guitar concertos by Rodrigo, conducted by Kunzel and played by David Russell. In April 2001 PBS videotaped “A Century of Broadway” at pops concerts conducted by Erich Kunzel featuring world renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. An international broadcast took place July 8, 2002 to great acclaim.
The Orchestra currently performs over 120 concerts per year including classics, pops, chamber orchestra, and numerous educational performances. The Miami City Ballet is in residence performing four programs with the Orchestra during the season. Also included are runout concerts to several communities in Southwest Florida.
In 1991, the 110 voice Philharmonic Center Chorale was formed for performances with the Orchestra and Dr. James Cochran was appointed director. In January 1998, the Philharmonic Center Youth Chorale was established and currently has 90 members. The chorales are both directed by Dr. Cochran. In September 2001 the Philharmonic Center Youth Orchestra was established by Mrs. Daniels. The membership is now 61 musicians and the music director is Clotilde Otranto.
Naples Philharmonic Orchestra - Conductors
Jorge Mester, Music Director
Jorge Mester, one of the world’s most acclaimed conductors, becomes the new music director of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra this fall. From 1998 to 2002, Maestro Mester was artistic director of Mexico City’s leading orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico.
Mester also serves as music director of the Pasadena Symphony, a post he has held since 1984, and is conductor laureate of the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, which he led for 21 years. During his 12-year tenure as music director of the Louisville Orchestra from 1967 to 1979, Mester made 72 recordings with the orchestra. The Los Angeles Times called Mester a conductor of “passionate vision” and proclaimed “Mester is a master.”
The Music Director Chair is generously underwritten by the Helen F. Whitaker Fund.
Clotilde ‘Clo’ Otranto, Resident Conductor
Now in her sixth season as resident conductor of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Clotilde Otranto conducts the Casual Classics and Family Fare series, Classical Runouts, Miami City Ballet, Mostly Messiah, and outdoor and educational concerts. She also directs the Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Otranto came to Naples from the Phoenix Symphony, where she was associate conductor for four years and assistant conductor before that. Winner of the Affiliated Artist International Conducting Competition, the Brazilian-born Otranto has guest-conducted with a number of orchestras and toured with the Phoenix Youth Symphony to Prague, Vienna and Budapest.
Clotilde Otranto is generously underwritten by the Naples Philharmonic League.
Naples Philharmonic Orchestra - Youth Orchestra
The Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is an auditioned orchestra with over 60 members from middle and high schools in Collier and Lee counties. The orchestra performs a wide range of music including classical, opera and film-score excerpts.
The Youth Orchestra performs with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra twice each season. Members of the orchestra who win the yearly concerto competition are featured soloists with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Information courtesy The Philharmonic Center for the Arts.