CREATING COMMUNITY THROUGH MUSIC
History of the Symphony
Founded in late 1995 by its current music director and CEO, Dr. Andrew Kurtz, the Gulf Coast Symphony (GCS) is now the second-largest non-profit performing arts organization in Lee county. The Gulf Coast Symphony (GCS) endeavors to challenge convention—with its rich tradition of unique and innovative collaborations across multiple genres and disciplines, high-quality dynamic musical performances, active community engagement, and our commitment to social change through arts education. Our ultimate goal is to use music and the arts as a vehicle to unite and strengthen our community. The Gulf Coast Symphony is one of the cultural jewels of Southwest Florida and one of the most dynamic orchestras in the United States.
The GCS comprises the Gulf Coast Symphony, the Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra, the Gulf Coast Jazz Collective, and the Music & Arts Community Center (MACC) which opened in January 2021. This year over 100 programs will be offered that present the best in classical music, jazz, world music, dance, opera, film and musical theater. The Symphony will perform 15 shows at the 1850-seat the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, with the bulk of our performances at our more intimate 300 seat theater at the MACC. Additional outreach and run-out concerts take place throughout Southwest Florida.
The MACC serves as a creative hub for our community. We offer classes in art and music for all ages; MusicWorks! – an El-sistema inspired, daily after-school string program for grades 1-5; a youth orchestra program for grades 6-12; and a youth jazz program. A New Horizons band offers opportunities for adults with limited experience, but interest in participating in an ensemble.
GCS is committed to equitable access, diversity and inclusivity throughout all its activities and operations. Our new orchestral fellowship program, which places a premium on diversity in its selection process, provides graduates of top music programs an opportunity to grow personally and artistically in a professional environment. We seek to develop in participants the full complement of skills and qualifications required of musician leaders and agents of change.
To contribute to the cultural enrichment of Southwest Florida by producing and presenting a diverse, innovative and balanced season of community and educational projects, events, and performances that reach the widest possible audience.
The Gulf Coast Symphony is committed to:
- Artistic integrity showcased by high-quality musical performances and challenging repertoire that will engage our audiences and artists
- Varied programming that reaches the widest possible audience and infuses a passion for different types of artistic expression throughout Southwest Florida
- Innovative risk-taking in programming and partnerships
- Promoting new works and emerging artists
- Educationally and culturally enriching programs that explore known and lesser known influences contributing to the evolution of music and the arts today
- Building an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our communities and provides equitable access to the arts
Our vision is to be a pillar in the arts in Southwest Florida. We create opportunities for our community that inspire, educate, entertain and motivate.
We will be:
- An acclaimed regional orchestra with a core of volunteer musicians
- A professional chamber orchestra
- A presenting organization that serves the artistic interests of our community
- A leading destination for music and arts education
- A year-round presence in our community
- An innovative yet fiscally responsible organization
We will create:
- High quality music and arts experiences that are innovative and varied in repertoire and reach a diverse audience
- Leading music and arts educational programs that serve and provide value to our community