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 and is celebrated for delivering spirited masterworks and chamber music concerts by first-rate musicians and distinguished guest artists.
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.