Palm Beach Symphony is South Florida’s premier orchestra known for its diverse repertoire and commitment to community. Founded in 1974, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization adheres to a mission of engaging, educating, and entertaining the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The orchestra is celebrated for delivering spirited performances by first-rate musicians and distinguished guest artists. Recognized by The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County with a 2020 Muse Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, Palm Beach Symphony continues to expand its education and community outreach programs with children’s concerts, student coaching sessions and master classes, instrument donations and free public concerts that reached 17,500 students in the 2018-2019 Season.
In our earliest days, the orchestra performed only a few concerts a year with a part-time conductor and a volunteer staff. It was not until Mrs. Ethel S. Stone became the Symphony’s board chair, a position she held for 23 years, that the Palm Beach Symphony orchestra began establishing itself as a cultural force in the community
A visionary leader, Mrs. Stone inherited her love of music from her family and generously shared it with the community she loved. During her tenure, a number of well-known musicians served in leadership roles, including Karl Karapetian, John Iuele, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Stewart Kershaw, David Gray, Ulf Bjorlin, and John Covelli.
Upon Mrs. Stone’s death on August 6, 1996, John and Joan Tighe stepped in to continue her legacy. They established a stable board of directors, a dedicated administrative staff, and a small endowment fund to ensure the symphony’s continued growth. Musicians who led the orchestra during the Tighes’ tenure were Alan Kogosowski, Vladimir Ponkin, Sergiu Schwartz, Ray Robinson and Donald Oglesby.
From our humble beginnings, Palm Beach Symphony has grown to become a cultural pillar in the Palm Beach community. Now a key cultural force in the area, we attract members who enjoy pairing quality concerts with fine dining experiences and social events, and who value and support the symphony’s music education and community outreach programs.
In 2019, as the symphony entered its 45th season, we moved our operations across the bridge from Palm Beach (where we’d operated since 1974) to West Palm Beach, allowing us space to realize our full potential by expanding our mission and reaching even more corners of the community with orchestral music. By integrating with the rich fabric of the Downtown West Palm Beach business district, we’re able to align with countless economic development and tourism assets to enrich the lives of families, businesses, residents, students, and tourists.
Through important collaborations with our valued community partners – the Palm Beach School District, the Related Group, the Cultural Council, the Downtown Development Authority, and the West Palm Beach Arts and Entertainment District, to name just a few – we’re continuing to grow our mission and expand our reach in Palm Beach County, bringing classical music to people of all ages, backgrounds, and life experiences.
The mission of Palm Beach Symphony is to engage, educate, and entertain the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. As a cultural arts organization committed to enhancing the communities in which we perform, we hold all members of our organization – board, staff, and volunteers – to the highest, ethical, and corporate governance standards by consistently living up to our core values.
We commit to the highest level of artistic, administrative, board, and volunteer quality and performance.
We foster meaningful, respectful, and collaborative relationships with patrons and all members of our large, diverse community by offering a variety of enriching programs.
We provide learning opportunities for students and audiences of all ages throughout our community.
We approach internal and external relationships with a spirit of respect and interconnectedness.
We intentionally embrace and promote diversity across all levels of our organization, including its people, its programs, and its audiences to reflect our community's diverse population.
We remain relevant by evolving our offerings with our sights set on the future while remaining true to our mission, vision, and core values.
We invest responsibly in new opportunities for sustainability and growth by striving to meet stakeholder needs and by advancing our orchestra’s artistic abilities.
We provide compelling stewardship that ensures adherence to our mission, vision,and core values; and we document our impact in reports to stakeholders and supporters.
We are committed to fiscal responsibility achieved by practicing long-term planning, careful oversight, and prudent use of debt.
We hold ourselves to a high standard of transparency and accountability to our donors.