David Kim, (Concertmaster, Philadelphia Orchestra) “Maestro Ponti is first and foremost, a wonderful and natural musician. His conducting technique is simple, clear, and uncluttered with mannerisms. He is extremely generous of spirit and is a sympathetic accompanist. I also find Maestro Ponti to be efficient in his use of rehearsal time.”
Ilya Kaler, (International Violin Soloist) “It was my enormous pleasure, honor, and privilege to perform recently under the direction of Maestro Raffaele Ponti, definitely one of the most gifted conductors of his generation. It is quite rare that one comes across a musician of such technical mastery and musical sensitivity. Not only is Maestro Ponti a singular charismatic presence on the podium but a wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic colleague. Playing under his baton was a real treat for me as well as a highly inspirational and memorable experience!”
Lilya Lorrin, (Concertmaster, Pittsburgh Savoyards Opera, PA) “One can quickly see that he has a great deal of talent and understanding for the music. Mr. Ponti knows the score inside and out, knows what he wants from the orchestra and singers, and know how to lead it clearly and with emotion. What especially distinguishes him from many other conductors is that he has a way of inspiring people to do their best for him, try harder for him. Many people have talent, but not all of them know how to LEAD in all senses of the word.”
Joel Becktell, (Principal Cello, Austin Symphony Orchestra) “This excellent young conductor provided expert leadership and strong musical guidance. I found his demeanor on the podium to be both commanding and warm, with the result that the orchestra enjoyed working with him and attended closely to what he required of us. His technique is strong, and he is easy to follow. He executed temp changes logically and in a manner the orchestra could understand easily. Mr. Ponti’s knowledge of the score was thorough, and he paid close attention to its musical requirements. The result was performances both the audience and orchestra enjoyed.”
Anthony Corroa, (Executive Director, Austin Symphony Orchestra) “Maestro Ponti’s sensitivity to the score, musicians and stage resulted in one of our fines productions. His clarity with the baton allowed the musicians a certain performance comfort tat is rarely enjoyed under young conductors. His attention to musical detail and flexibility with respect to temp solidified his rapport with the dancers. Musicians need the security of an expert conductor for inspiration and to insure performance excellence. Mr. Ponti is abundantly gifted in every aspect of his art, and I look forward to having him back to conduct other concerts with the Austin Symphony.”
Less Huff, (Operations, Austin Symphony Orchestra) “I observed his conducting to be quite detailed and effortless to follow. His meticulous attention to entrances, dynamics, articulation, tempo, and style were very impressive. He embraces the music with passion and fervor. He was very kind, polite and respectful to the players. His overall demeanor to ASO and Ballet Austin was that of the utmost cooperation and professionalism.”
Giorgio Lalov, (Executive Director): “Maestro Ponti is a man of extremely high intelligence and capabilities. The Orchestra, Sofia Symphony Orchestra, which has made many professional recordings of different Operas since 1988 all over Western Europe, took to Maestro Ponti immediately. His gestures are very precise and clear. The Concerts of Italian Opera Highlights and performances of Tosca that he conducted were all highly successful and greatly applauded by the Italian public who knows these works so well.”
Karl Kraber, (Principal Flute, Austin Symphony Orchestra) “His manner with the orchestra was thoroughly professional, but also friendly. He got our respect and our good will. His rehearsal technique was most efficient. His enthusiasm was palpable. He always communicated the emotional content of each phrase and section very well. He was very clear in his gestures and manner, showing just what kind of response, tempo and inflection he wanted from the orchestra.”
Roger Daily, (Director of Education, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) “Your selection of music and performance captured our audience’s hearts. I saw more than a few tears as the Mahler was performed.”
Joseph Werner, (Personnel Manager, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) “I believe Mr. Ponti made the most of his opportunity and conducted with musicality and style. I found the performances to be extremely sensitive and moving. Raffaele addressed his audiences with polished ease and worked with the orchestra with professionalism and respect.”
Andrew Adams, (Manager, Pittsburgh Savoyards Opera) “It is a rare thing to play for a conductor that is talented, professional and personable. Maestro Ponti seems to have it all. Any organization that has the chance to work with him is extremely lucky.”
Richard Pearlman, (Director, Eastman Opera) “He is clearly an excellent musician, a good organizer and possesses the “People skills” so necessary to bring together the many forces it takes to musically prepare and perform an opera.”
Russell Peck, (Composer) “Ponti has excellent conducting skills, a firm command of the podium, real musical ideas and the capacity to impart them in a way that instils confidence.”
Samuel Jones, (Composer and Conductor) “Mr. Ponti is warm, likable, and strikes me as a person of character and integrity.”
Glenn A. West, (Director, Opera Theatre of Rochester) “His is a wonderful talent enhanced by enthusiasm, creativity, willingness to work, and an engaging personality. His consistently high standards and efficient and effective style always drew the best from the performers.”
Joanna Giesek, (Executive Director) "I believe he demonstrated the greatest musical depth of talent and public popularity. He brought excitement wherever he went during his fully booked 10 days of rehearsals, public appearances, and the culminating concert. I highly recommend him for any conducting or music director post.”
Eugenia Zukerman, (Flute): “I’ve had the pleasure of performing as soloist under the baton of Raffaele Ponti on tour with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and in Florida. Ponti’s conducting is superb, and exciting. It’s clear that his players respect and enjoy working with him and he has a rare ability to communicate with the audience. I enjoyed every minute of making music with this energetic, brilliant maestro. He is a gem!”
Marvin Stamm, (Trumpet): “Ponti interprets the music beautifully. He brings the most modest of details out. He sees the picture he wants them to paint. They respond to the environment he creates. They are a beautifully rehearsed orchestra. It was a moving performance. So clear, so wonderful. One of the best I’ve seen so far. In less than five years, he will be sought by orchestras all over the country.”
Antonio Pompa-Baldi, (Concert Pianist): “I had the immense pleasure of performing two of the most beloved piano concertos of all time under the baton of Maestro Raffaele Ponti: Rachmaninoff Second, and Brahms Second. These two masterpieces are very different, but they share one thing: endless inspiration. Maestro Ponti made it possible for both these fantastic pieces to come to life in the fullest possible way, through his magisterial technique, his great sensitivity, his lyricism, passion, depth, and intellectual rigor. I never felt more free to express myself, knowing that Maestro Ponti would always be right there with me, allowing me to lead when appropriate, and taking the leading role when needed. I cannot praise him enough!”
Terrence Wilson, (Concert Pianist): “Raffaele Ponti is a deeply sensitive, intuitively honest conductor. He inspires some of the most emotionally impactful music experiences I’ve ever had.”
Joe Alessi, (Principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic): “I enjoyed working with Raffaele Ponti as his soloist for a recent program. His stick technique is excellent, and he showed consummate skill and wonderful musicianship in all the rehearsals and the performance. In addition, he is a wonderful human being. I highly recommend him!”
Henry Fogel, (Executive Director): “Ponti’s conducting is expressive, clear, and emotionally communicative - frankly all the things I look for in conductors, very impressive.”
Eugene Gratovich, (Associate Concertmaster, Austin Symphony): “Maestro Raffaele Ponti is an outstanding musician and conductor. His gestures are always clear and expressive. He has the highest professional standards. He has had repeated engagements with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. He is a conductor with whom musicians wish to make music.”
Robert Bonfiglio, (International Harmonica Soloist): "I just performed the Villa-Lobos Harmonica Concerto with Maestro Raffaele Ponti, and I was stunned by what an unbelievable conductor he is; wonderful, dazzling, exciting, I don't know what to say other than, very musical .”
Fabio Bidini, (Concert Pianist): “It is my great pleasure and honor to spend a few words about Maestro Raffaele Ponti. I had the opportunity to work with him on several occasions. I believe he has the capability to fulfill the real message of the music without compromises and his sensitivity permits any soloist to feel always very free and comfortable under his baton. His very inspiring and exciting way to approach the music is always extremely tasteful and punctual, without ever forgetting details and the broader line. Very accurate on balance, quality of sound and pure ensemble. Very intelligent and easy going, both very important points to express his musicality with great personality. He possesses every quality also under the human aspect, capable of very sincere professional relationship with the heart in the right place. Maestro Ponti is the ideal music partner to share any stage of the most important concert halls in the world.”
Timothy McAllister, (GRAMMY Award Winner, International Saxophone Soloist): “Raffaele Ponti is an innovative conductor who brings seasoned leadership and brilliance to the podium. In our work together, it was abundantly clear from the audience’s energy and reception that they love their orchestra and its Maestro. He is an artistic beacon for the communities he serves, and I am always eager to share the stage with him. Bravo, Raffaele!”
Julian Schwarz, (International Cello Soloist): “Working with Maestro Ponti was as inspiring as it was organic. He and the orchestra wrapped their arms around me and together gave a deeply heartfelt and passionate performance of the Elgar Concerto. It was an emotional experience sharing the stage with him – one I will not soon forget.”
Stefano Algieri, (International Tenor): “I find Maestro Ponti to be an outstanding conductor in both the operatic and symphonic repertoire, displaying an excellent technique, overall command of the orchestra and sensitive understanding in working with the singers.”
Jeffrey Multer, (Concertmaster, Florida Orchestra): “It was a great pleasure to make music with Raffaele. He is such an exciting musician and a wonderful collaborator. His energy and natural physical gifts on the podium allowed me and my fellow musicians to really play our very best. Looking forward to next time!”
Giorgio Leardini, (Direzione Musicale, Accademia Pianistica Italia) “As a musician, he displays a great deal of excellence and sensitivity to his music. His conducting technique shows elegance and confidence. He has all the qualification s to achieve a brilliant career.”
"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."
The Courier News, Chicago
“A bold yet sensitive conductor, Ponti highlights Brahms’ interplay between the instruments, expertly balancing the sections – emphasizing the delightful winds and fine trombones while holding in check ESO’s formidable string section – to illustrate the multiple layers that make this work so sublime.”
Daily Herald, Chicago
“Ponti is regarded as a rising star, someone gaining international acclaim and attention.”
The Courier News, Chicago
“The music was exciting and the performance was flawless. Ponti showed us how passionate he is about the music, and the orchestra demonstrated how committed they are to excellence.”
“…it’s clear he has a tremendous zest for music, an exuberance recalling both the roar and rush of a roller coaster ride.”
The Courier News, Chicago
“Fans worldwide say that his passion shows.”
The Courier News, Chicago
“Eyes hold an entire ensemble. A moment passes. Then through a series of wordless impulses, an exceptional conductor, Ponti changes the human chemistry in an orchestra and audience.”
The Courier News, Chicago
“…guest conductor Raffaele Ponti, whose passionate approach to music has captured international attention.”
The Courier News, Chicago
“Heads bobbed and smiles broke out both on and off the stage Saturday night as the Billings Symphony Orchestra performed under the baton of Raffaele Ponti.”
“The sound was big, and the orchestra played with great heart. By its end, musicians’ brows were wet and some members of the audience were teetering on the edge of their seats.”
“…they were impressed with the music and the conductor (Ponti)…he’s great!”
Internationally recognized Conductor Raffaele Ponti is an artist of Dynamic Personality, Charismatic Performances, and Superb Musicianship. He is known for his powerful musical interpretations, rich and unique quality of sound, and breath of colors that he inspires, and draws from every orchestra he conducts. Making his mark as a model for today’s conductors, Raffaele Ponti is recognized for his commitment to creative artistry, innovative programming, and to audience and community engagement.
Especially recognized for his interpretations of the core repertoire, Raffaele Ponti has also collaborated closely with many extraordinary contemporary composers including Kenneth Fuchs, Roberto Sierra, and Jennifer Higdon. In recent seasons he has collaborated with David Kim, Ilya Kaler, William Wolfram, Terrance Wilson, Glenn Dicterow. Franklin Cohen, Joseph Alessi, Fabio Bidini, Eugenia Zukerman, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Jeffrey Biegel, Stewart Goodyear, Juana Zayas, Timothy McAllister, Joan Kwuon, Sabrina-Vivian Hopcker, Elena Urioste, Michael Ludwig, David Halen, Philippe Quint, Jeffrey Multer, all led to rave reviews.
Raffaele Ponti now maintains an active worldwide conducting schedule, having appeared with the Sofia Symphony, Pescara Symphony, Siena Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Austin Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, Paducah Symphony, Billings Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Binghamton Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Utica Symphony, Schenectady Symphony, and the orchestras in Roma, Arezzo, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Firenze, Grosseto, Venezia, Padova, Pienza, Treviso, Spello, Milano, Perugia, Massa, Terni, Bologna, Ferrara, Ripatransone, Pesaro, Civitavecchia, San Gimignano, Genoa, Sinalunga, Cortona, Tocco da Casauria, Montepulciano, Montacatini Terme, Bagno Vignoni, and Prato.
Raffaele Ponti is equally in demand as an opera conductor. In 1998 he was appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Italia Konzert Opera Internationale where he toured Italy annually with triumph performances of Tosca, Il Trovatore, Nabucco, Madama Butterfly, L’Elisir d’amore, Carmen, Aida, La Boheme, and Rigoletto. His Italian opera tours include the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, Varna State Opera, and Italia Konzert Opera Internationale. Among the international opera stars collaborated with are Paola Romano, Vittorio Grigolo, Maurizio Graziani, Stefano Algieri, Mariana Paunova, Silvia dalla Benetta, Ettore Nova, George Petean, Claudia Marci, Salvador Carbo, Tatiana Lisnic, Carlos Almaguer, Patrizia Cigna, Michele Sburlati, Galina Kalinina, Mina Tasca, Stanislas Arraez, Alessandro Busi, Mauro Augustini, Rubens Pelizzari, Davide Pastretti, and Ambra Vespasiani.
Winner of numerous awards including winner of the Mario Gusella International Conductors Competition in Pescara, Italy; Italian Musician of the Year, and the prestigious Bernard Adelstein Prize from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He carries on the teachings and philosophies of his mentor and teacher, Giuseppe Sinopoli.
Raffaele Ponti’s effective technique, and enthusiastic conducting style is from his professional performance experiences with Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis, David Zinman, Yoel Levi, and Eric Leinsdorf. Before becoming a conductor, he played with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, beginning at the age of seventeen, and the Cleveland Orchestra, at nineteen. Other ensembles include the Cleveland Opera, Erie Philharmonic, Eastern Brass Quintet, Metropolitan Brass Quintet, and the Casals Music Festival.
Raffaele Ponti is an inspiring musician, expert teacher, and speaker who enjoys inspiring musicians, and audiences of all ages. He is a popular conducting teacher, who leads conducting seminars in Italy, Canada, and the United States.