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’s main goals are to raise the artistic level of the orchestra; achieve passionate and inspired performances; enrich lives through great orchestral experiences; make the orchestra important and relevant to the community.

The 2020-2021 season will be Maestro Ponti’s eight as Music Director of the Punta Gorda Symphony and tenth with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. Both symphonies have grown and flourished under his leadership. His superb musicianship and dynamic personality have attracted professional musicians and guest artists from around the world, resulting in sold-out concerts for the past four seasons.

Maestro Ponti is a champion of music education in the community with his “Maestro Visits” which are school visits (every third grader in the county gets a visit each school year), master classes (middle school, high school and universities) and the annual “Youth Concerts” which are now affiliated with the Carnegie Hall Link-Up program.  His community outreach also extends to adults, with his exciting “Behind the Notes,” his pre-concert program “Musical Conversations with Raffaele” and his innovative program “The Symphony as a Business Model,” which has attracted new businesses and patrons to the orchestra.

His drive and vision on the podium, as well as in the community have led the symphony to earn the prestigious Charlie award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Arts,” Florida Weekly’s “Best” and Harbor Style Magazine’s “Best Performing Arts Organization.” In 2015, he was honored with a Proclamation given by the Mayor and City Council Members of Punta Gorda, FL.  In December 2017, Maestro Raffaele Ponti accepted the Charlotte County School Board Award as “Business Partner of the Year” on behalf of the Punta Gorda Symphony to recognize the Orchestra’s contribution to music education in our county.

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.

Raffaele Ponti’s reviews have dubbed him a “rising star”, “charismatic”, “electrifying”, “empowering” and his audiences agree. Maestro Ponti was recently named a “Leader of Distinction” by the Florida Weekly.

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."