Jim Brickman's The Gift of Christmas
Friday, December 10, 2021 - 7:30 pm
“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 has worked with the orchestras of Buffalo, Rochester, Sofia, Varna State Opera, Austin, Binghamton, Elgin, Billings, Utica, Schenectady, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Festival di musica da camera, Siena, Pienza, Ripatransone, Civitavecchia, Spello, Arezzo, San Gimignano, Massa, Lucca, Genoa, Rome, Punta Gorda, Sinalunga, Cortona, Tocco da Casauria, Pescara, Montepulciano, Montacatini Terme, Paducah, Pistoia, Bagno Vignoni, Grosseto, and Prato.
Raffaele has collaborated with world-class artists William Wolfram, Franklin Cohen, Joseph Alessi, 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.
Ponti’s main goals are to raise the artistic level of the orchestra; achieve passionate and inspired performances, enriching lives through great orchestral experiences. Ponti believes making the Symphony relevant and important to the community is vital. Improving our community’s quality of life through great orchestral music and music education is essential.
The 2021-2022 season will be Maestro Ponti’s ninth as Music Director of the Punta Gorda Symphony and eleventh 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 six 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.
Raffaele's drive and vision on the podium, as well as in the community, have earned him 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 his contribution to music education in the county.
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.
Jim Brickman’s distinctive piano style and captivating live performances have revolutionized the popularity of instrumental music, making him a driving force behind modern American music.
The hit-making songwriter is the best-selling solo pianist of our time earning 21 Number One albums and 32 Top 20 Radio Singles in the industry bible, “Billboard Magazine.” He’s garnered two Grammy nominations, gospel music’s Dove Award, two SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, and the Canadian Country Music Award. He also has a music scholarship named for him by his alma mater, the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music.
Born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Brickman began his music training at the age of five. But young James wouldn’t conform to the rudimentary regulations of piano lessons. “He didn’t have the knack for it,’ his first teacher would say. That didn’t discourage the tenacious pianist from creating his own unique brand of musical storytelling.
Brickman is one of pop-music’s most fascinating success stories. He jumped from a career as a jingle writer of famous tunes for advertising, to reviving the romantic standard of the popular song. His first album release was 1995’s “No Words,” and he’s gone on to sell eight million albums worldwide.
His star-studded vocal collaborations have crossed genres to feature luminaries like, Martina McBride, Carly Simon, Lady Antebellum, Michael W. Smith, Herb Alpert, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Loggins, Jane Krakowski, and a host of country, R&B, Broadway, pop, and jazz musicians.
He’s written three best-selling books, starred in four TV concert specials, and is in the 20th season of hosting the popular syndicated radio show: “The Jim Brickman Show.”
“Hope,” “Faith” and “Peace” are truly at the heart of Jim Brickman’s passionate songwriting. “I write music to be shared — to soothe, to inspire, to celebrate, to love. To me, music is the pure and simple soundtrack to life’s most memorable moments.”
As a true artist that lives and breathes the music he creates, Jim Brickman is thrilled to introduce fans to his most recent songs and perform them live in concert halls across the world.