Italian – American 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!”
Award winning Conductor Raffaele Ponti is the recipient of the 2014 Charlie Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, winner of the Mario Gusella International Conducting Competition in Pescara, Italy, the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Bernard Adelstein Award, the Sons of Italy Italian Musician of the Year, Harborstyle Magazine’s Best Performing Arts Group with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Florida Weekly’s Best Award with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and honored with a Proclamation, given by the Mayor and City Council Members of Punta Gorda, Florida.
Raffaele is currently Artistic Director and Conductor of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor of Florida’s Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Visiting Instructor in Orchestral Studies & Director of the FIU Symphony Orchestra at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Since his appointment as Artistic Director of the Paducah Symphony the Annual fund contributions have doubled, season subscriptions have nearly tripled, single ticket purchases have increased by 72%, the operation budget has nearly doubled, and he helped secure a $1Million dollar pledge to the endowment. He also developed education programs that educate and inspire students, in which the number of participants has grown from 2,000 to 20,000 students per year.
His accomplishments as Music Director and Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra of Florida include three sold-out seasons, the first in the orchestra’s history. This success has increased the number of performances, doubled audience size and the orchestra’s budget in three seasons. He has also increased the orchestra roster from 40 to 70 professional musicians that come from all over the state of Florida.
Recently Raffaele led the Buffalo Philharmonic and Erie Philharmonic with immediate return engagements. He is also the former Principal Conductor and Music Director and now Regular Guest Conductor of Italia Konzert Opera International in San Gimignano, Italy, Founding Director of Festival di Musica da Camera in Ripatransone, Italy, and continues to appear with other prominent orchestras around the United States and Europe including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Sofia Symphony, Varna State Opera, Orchestra di Pescara, Austin Symphony, Siena Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Elgin Symphony, Billings Symphony, Italia Konzert Opera, Utica Symphony, Schenectady Symphony, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Syracuse Symphony and repeated tours of Italy with the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, and Varna State Opera Orchestra, of Bulgaria.
Raffaele began his training on violin, piano and trumpet. At the age of 17, he began playing with the Rochester Philharmonic and at 19, with the Cleveland Orchestra. After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ponti went to Italy to study conducting in Siena, and later, in Rome with Giuseppe Sinopoli. Beginning as an opera conductor he had instant success conducting operas throughout Italy with productions of Aida, Il trovatore, La traviata, Carmen, La boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Pagliacci and L’elisir d’amore.