Gulf Coast Symphony turns 20—and keeps on growing

Posted on: February 24, 2015

“Gulf Coast Symphony has a lot to celebrate this Sunday,” writes Charles Runnells in Saturday’s (2/21) News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida). “The Fort Myers-based community orchestra marks its 20th anniversary with a Gershwin concert.… The orchestra has grown steadily since 1995, brought in big-name musical talent and tackled increasingly more ambitious classical and pops music. And even during the country’s recent recession, the all-volunteer orchestra’s audience kept growing.… ‘When the economy tanked, we grew,’ says Gulf Coast Symphony founder and music director Andrew Kurtz. ‘I didn’t cut performances. I added performances.’ In the last five years, the orchestra’s annual attendance jumped from about 6,000 to a projected 10,500 this season, according to symphony managing director Linda Onorevole. And many of the orchestra’s Mann Hall concerts sell out most or all of the venue’s 1,873 seats.… Kurtz, 47, founded Gulf Coast Symphony while working as a violinist and assistant conductor for Southwest Florida Symphony.… He kept meeting local musicians who wanted to play in an orchestra but had day jobs and couldn’t commit to the busy rehearsal and performance schedule of a professional orchestra.… His musicians are glad that mission has continued for 20 years. And, they hope, 20 years more.”

Posted February 24, 2015