Award Winning Conductor, Raffaele Livio Ponti is an artist of dynamic personality, charismatic performances, and superb musicianship. His trademark is the breadth of his vision, the clarity of his interpretation, and the rich beauty of his sound. The Chicago Courier News Writes, “Maestro Ponti brings an exhilarating energy level to center stage. It’s an electrifying swagger empowering and enabling him to pull music from light to darkness and back again. He is a rising star!”

Ponti for the past 9 years has served as Artistic Director of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and 6 years as Music Director of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (FL). Under Ponti’s leadership the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and Charlotte Symphony Orchestra have grown in all areas. The current budgets and audiences’ size have tripled in both orchestras.

Raffaele has guest conducted many orchestras including Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Varna Opera Theatre, Austin Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Elgin Symphony, Billings Symphony, Italia Konzert Opera, Utica Symphony, Schenectady Symphony, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Syracuse Symphony and Orchestra Sinfonica di Pescara. Also, Italian summer programs, Sessione Senese per la musica e l’arte and Festival di musica da camera.

Prior to his current appointments, he conducted the Austin Symphony’s Education and Family concerts from 2000 – 2010, performing for over 300, 000 children. He also conducted the Austin Ballet with 12 performances a year. Raffaele also served as Music Director of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra for 15 years.

Ponti has worked with world class artists William Wolfram, Franklin Cohen, Joseph Alessi, Glenn Dicterow, David Kim, Ilya Kaler, Fabio Bidini, Eugenia Zukerman, Jeffrey Multer, Timothy McAllister, Julian Schwarz, Joan Kwuon, Sabrina-Vivian Hopcker, Terrence Wilson, David Halen, Michael Ludwig, Gary Levinson, Juana Zayas, Philippe Quint, Elena Urioste, Jeffrey Biegel, Robert Bonfiglio, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Marvin Stamm, Thomas Pandolfi, Allen Vizzutti, Ettore Nova, Ambra Vespasiani, Paola Romano, Vittorio Grigolo, Maurizio Graziani, Stefano Algieri and Mariana Paunova.

Ponti’s main goal is to raise the artistic level of his orchestras and achieve passionate and inspired performances. Raffaele is a dynamic leader and is very comfortable talking to audiences, being out in the community raising awareness and promoting the interests of the arts organizations he represents. He is happy to meet with donors and make sponsorship calls in collaboration with the Executive Director and serve the Board in any capacity he can.

Raffaele believes making the Symphony relevant and important to the community is vital. Improving our community’s quality of life through great orchestral music and music education is essential. 

What's the Buzz

David Kim: “Maestro Ponti is first and foremost, a wonderful and natural musician." 

Antonio Pompa-Baldi: "Maestro Ponti is a first-rate musician..."

Michael Ludwig: “ Raffaele brings extraordinary artistry and incredible excitement and passion to the podium..."

Ilya Kaler: "Definitely one of the most gifted conductors of his generation."

Henry Fogel: “Ponti’s conducting is expressive, clear, and emotionally communicative - frankly all the things I look for in conductors….very impressive.”

Robert Bonfiglio: "I was stunned by what an unbelievable conductor he is; wonderful, dazzling, exciting."

Jeffrey Biegel: "His work is fresh, well prepared, inspiring, and sensitive."

Giorgio Leardini: "His conducting technique shows elegance and confidence. He has all the qualifications to achieve a brilliant career."

Eugene Gratovich: "Maestro Raffaele Ponti is an outstanding musician and conductor. He has the highest professional standards. He is a conductor with whom musicians wish to make music."