Position Announcement for Music Director

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra Music Director Search Committee invites nominations and applications for the position of Music Director, available beginning in the 2022-23 season. 

Music conductor

The Position

The Music Director reports to the Panama City Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and is responsible for carrying out the artistic mission of the orchestra.

The Music Director oversees the repertoire, programming, and artistic production of at least four (4) regular season concerts and two (2) holiday concerts. He/She/They direct the audition process including recruitment and selection of orchestra members and rehearses and conducts the orchestra.

As the orchestra’s artistic leader, the Music Director works with the PCSO Board to build and sustain the orchestra’s visibility and involvement in the community.

The Music Director is expected to work closely with the PCSO Board President and administrative staff in carrying out these responsibilities, and will also play a role in the orchestra’s fundraising and other development activities.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • excellent musicianship and conducting skills;
  • knowledge of a broad range of repertoire, with the ability to create dynamic classical and popular music programs, select compelling guest artists, and collaborate artistically with the orchestra’s musicians;
  • the knowledge and commitment to enthusiastically deliver PCSO’s music education and outreach programs;
  • strong leadership and interpersonal skills to connect with donors, sponsors, and government officials to represent the vision and value of the orchestra as a strategic part of the region’s artistic and economic development;
  • the ability to partner with PCSO’s leadership to actively participate and elevate PCSO’s marketing, promotional, and development activities; and
  • the passion and creativity to develop and lead performances that resonate with existing patrons and attract diverse new audiences.

Previous or current music directorship or comparable experience is preferred. Emerging talent with artistic vision and examples of their commitment to orchestra growth and development will be thoughtfully considered. 


Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications.


A complete application will include the following:

  • a personal letter of interest in the position as PCSO Music Director and your vision for the continued growth of the orchestra as a cultural centerpiece of Bay County
  • a resume or curriculum vitae
  • sample programs previously conducted and/or proposed
  • video links to YouTube with three (3) examples of your recent conducting work in a variety of music styles and from multiple genres
  • the names, emails, and phone numbers of at least three (3) professional references

Please email complete application materials as pdf files to [email protected].

If needed, materials may be mailed to:

Panama City Symphony Orchestra
P.O. Box 744
Panama City, FL 32402

All materials must be received by June 30, 2022.

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer.

About the Panama City Symphony Orchestra

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra of 60 professional musicians, now in its 27th season, serves patrons from Bay and surrounding Florida counties, visitors from neighboring states, and seasonal residents from the US and Canada.

PCSO’s programming includes four regular season concerts and a Holiday Concert that fill the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center. A free outdoor Holiday concert performed at Aaron Bessant Park, Panama City Beach, attracts a diverse audience of over 3000 seniors, adults, and children. Special concerts have featured guest instrumentalists, vocalists, and symphony-backed rock bands.

The Symphony’s music education programs develop talented high school-aged orchestral musicians through its orchestra mentoring program and deliver an in-school music program to elementary grades in Bay and surrounding counties. Audience enrichment and community outreach programs include pre-concert lectures and program notes and partnership with the City of Panama City government for monthly ensemble performances.

PCSO is governed by a 24-member Board of Directors. The Board’s Executive Committee successfully handles planning and operations and manages a balanced budget. Orchestra operations are assisted by two Personnel Managers and a Librarian.

Situated in the geographic center of Northwest Florida, Panama City is the largest city between Pensacola and Tallahassee and is the government seat of Bay County. The county is home to Florida State University-Panama City, Gulf Coast State College, and Tyndall Air Force Base. Panama City is experiencing a surge of growth and development including a renaissance of its Historic Downtown and dynamic growth in the performing arts including the planned Performing Arts and Events Center. 

Sipping with the Symphony

Sipping with the Symphony

It’s History Class Brewing Company’s Pouring Love month, and for every beer and cider sold now through March 31, 2022, $.25 will be donated to PCSO’s music education outreach programs.

Try their ever-changing assortment of locally brewed and historically named beers, or go for the original Symphony Cider, brewed especially for this fundraiser!  

Then join us at Panama City’s favorite brewpub on Sunday, March 27, 2022,  1:00-4:00 for Sipping with the Symphony, an afternoon of free, family-friendly fun accompanied by music by members of the Symphony. 


Undaunted by the challenges of the past 18 months, The Panama City POPS Conductor and Board of Directors announce the Orchestra’s 26th season, opening Saturday, October 16 at the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center.  The Presenting Sponsor for the season is the St. Joe Community Foundation.

“The St. Joe Community Foundation is pleased to support another season of musical performance by The Panama City Symphony Orchestra,” stated April Wilkes, Executive Director of The St. Joe Community Foundation.  “We are grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of bringing the community together through the magic of music.”

Four regular season concerts and one holiday extra are planned for 2021-2022. 

Season Opener Features Guest Pianist

The mastery of the peerless 19th century Russian composer launches the season with “Timeless Tchaikovsky.”  Highlighting the evening is the appearance of guest pianist, Frederick Moyer.

Serenade for Strings, op. 48 opens the program, a heartfelt, sunny piece with magnificent melodies.  Moyer then joins the orchestra to perform the composer’s beloved and stirring Piano Concerto No. 1.

“I am thrilled to be working with Fred again,” stated PCSO Conductor David Ott, now in his sixth season with the Orchestra.  “His appearance with us four years ago was memorable, as he performed my own Piano Concerto No. 2 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  If ever there were a concert to deliver simply elegant and uplifting music, this is it.  Moyer’s work is masterful.”

For over 35 years as a full‐time concert pianist, Frederick Moyer has carved out a career characterized by an exacting approach to music‐making and a wide variety of musical interests.

Born into an artistic family, Moyer began piano studies with his mother at the age of seven. Musically eclectic from the start, his youthful obsessions moved from the Tijuana Brass to Oscar Peterson to Sergei Rachmaninoff.  In junior high school, he began studies with Theodore Lettvin, and in high school entered Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Eleanor Sokoloff. Later, at Indiana University, he studied with Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio. 

Throughout, he coached with his grandfather David Moyer, a student of Ferruccio Busoni and Ernst Von Dohnanyi.

Moyer plays hundreds of concerts annually across the country, has performed in 44 countries, in such venues as Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Syndey Opera House, Windsor Castle, Carnegie Recital Hall, Tanglewood, and the Kennedy Center. Fred has performed with most of the major orchestras in the United States as well as many orchestras throughout Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.

Moyer’s enthusiasm, artistry, and adventurous programming have made him a favorite among audiences of all ages. In recital, his delightful commentary from the stage takes the audience into the heart of the musical experience. 

His wide‐ranging interests have contributed to classical music in unique ways. Art museums have engaged him to create art‐music presentations that interpret works of visual art. He contributes his musical talents to causes including Habitat for Humanity and a music school in Port‐au‐Prince, Haiti, which he visits regularly to teach and perform.

An avid computer programmer and inventor with multiple patents, he has created innovative concerts that redefine the piano recital. His MoyerCam gives the audience a view of the hands and keyboard from virtually any seat.

Full Season of Musical Hallmarks

In December, the Symphony will perform its fourth annual “Holiday by the Bay,” an extra, all-family concert of timeless classics, popular holiday hits complete with a visit from Santa.  

In January the Symphony presents “French Impressions,” featuring the musical impressionism of Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”  The program will also spotlight harp soloist, Katie Ott, in Debussy’s “Sacred and Profane Dances.”

February’s “Homegrown” showcases the Symphony’s very own talent as the Orchestra performs David Ott’s Symphony No. 5, a highly lyrical, splashy and colorful work that Ott promises will rock the rafters.  The program will feature the solo debut of PSCO mentored student, Alison Strunk, performing Kreisler’s Preludium and Allegro.

The regular season closes in late April with the reprised scheduling Rimsky-Korsakov’s evocative masterpiece, Scheherazade.

Moments with the Maestro Returns

Introduced five years ago when David Ott picked up the conductor’s baton, Moments with the Maestro was the intimate and informative champagne and lecture series preceding each concert. Knocked out of the Marina Civic Center three years ago, the popular prelude has found a new home at the Panama City Center for the Arts.  It will be held on the Friday afternoon preceding each regular concert, from 4:00-5:00pm. 

Music to My Ears

Instituted during the 2019-2020 season and put on hold as the pandemic unfolded, Music to My Ears is the Symphony’s outreach program targeting elementary school students in grades 3, 4 and 5 returns to school calendars this fall.

Conceived by David Ott, it is a traveling, educational program placing Symphony musicians in elementary schools and providing young audiences a chance to experience symphonic music in their own environment.  The original, 25-minute work features an eight-piece ensemble with narration. 

“Bay District Schools is extremely grateful to the musicians of the Panama City Symphony for the Music to my Ears program that has brought the artistry of beautiful music to our elementary schools,” declared BDS Superintendent Bill Husfelt.  “Music will always have a special place in our curriculum and we sincerely appreciate the commitment of the Symphony and its musicians. Their shared love of music, and their dedication to sharing their skills with students of all ages, has shown our students the value of being lifelong learners and the amazing results that come from commitment, practice, dedication and talent.”

PCSO will expand “Music to My Ears” into Walton, Calhoun, Gulf, Jackson and Washington counties as the year progresses.  “This is a remarkable outreach program dedicated to the musical education of children,” stated Symphony Board of Directors President Connie Gittard.  “As the Panama City Symphony appeals to an ever-larger and geographically more far-ranging audience, we’re committed to expanding the reach of symphonic music as deeply into those communities as possible.”

Symphony in the City

With a desire to show the Symphony’s commitment to Panama City, David Ott has created another opportunity to experience music up close and personally. “Symphony in the City” will be held in the Panama City City Hall Rotunda at 12:12pm on the first Wednesday of each month, November through April.  The 30-minute concerts will feature Ott and another musician or two performing in the open chamber.  “It’s a glorious space,” states Ott.  “It’s the people’s house and we hope the people of Panama City will join us for lunchtime there.”  The concerts are free to the public and everyone is welcome. 

“We’re invested in artistic quality and community engagement, and with the commitment of visionary partners like the St. Joe Community Foundation, the Panama City Symphony Orchestra is poised to contribute to the quality of life at home and across the Panhandle.”

The Symphony will adhere to CDC, state, local and Bay District Schools guidelines and determinant factors including crowd capacity and sanitization.  Patrons are encouraged to visit www.panamacitysymphony.org for the updates.

Panama City Symphony concerts start promptly at 7:30 pm at The Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center, 501 Mosley Drive, Lynn Haven, FL, 32444.  Free parking is behind the venue, just off Minnesota Avenue. 

Panama City Symphony Powerhouse Planned for January 16

A program of power and passion is planned for “Something Old,” the Panama City Symphony’s second concert of its regular season on January 16.

Topping the program is German composer Felix Mendelssohn’s powerful and moving Symphony No. 5, “Reformation.”  Based on Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” the symphony was composed for the 300th anniversary of the events surrounding the Reformation.  

A testament to the composer’s faith, it moves from intimacy to majesty, from pain to hope, from sorrow to joy, and concludes in an overwhelming voice of reassurance.  “Many times over, this magnificent symphony has moved me to tears,” remarked conductor David Ott.  

Also planned for the evening, the Panama City Symphony debut of the powerful and passionate voice of Peter Lake.  American-born, European-bred and internationally performing lyric-tenor, Lake brings his smooth, clarion-bright timbre to the Symphony stage to perform Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” (Turandot) and “E lucevan le stelle” (Tosca).  

Raised in a musical family, and eventually earning his PhD in Voice, Mr. Lake is at home singing both opera masterpieces and Broadway hits.  “We’re planning some Broadway, too,” stated Lake in an interview about his Symphony appearance, “but you’ll have to be there to find out what it is.”

Italian composer Ottorio Respighi’s lush “Ancient Airs and Dances” rounds out the program for this performance sponsored by G.A.C. Contractors.  The concert will be approximately 75 minutes long and there will be no intermission.

The Symphony continues to adhere to CDC, state, local and Bay District Schools guidelines and determinant factors including crowd capacity and sanitization.  This includes basic requirements for social distancing and mask wearing outlined in Phase 3 of Florida’s re-opening plan.

Formerly the Panama City POPS, the Panama City Symphony is in the midst of its 25th year, dubbed The Sterling Season.” The Presenting Sponsor for the season is the St. Joe Community Foundation.

Fully professional since 2016, the Symphony has evolved from a small group of musicians performing together as the Orchestra of St. Andrew Bay, to the full orchestra which became the Panama City POPS, to the newly-monikered Panama City Symphony Orchestra effective July 1, 2020.

The Symphony opened its season in October and plans to continue through the winter and spring, pandemic conditions permitting.  Additional concert dates for the regular season are February 27 and April 24.  All regular season concerts are performed at the Gretchen Nelson Fine Arts Center, 501 Mosley Drive, Lynn Haven, and will start at 7:30 pm.  Single reserved seat tickets are $25.00 and are available at www.panamacitysymphony.com

Mend the Gap

Your support today is more important than ever. 

We’re ready to present a season full of unforgettable performances and our musicians are thrilled to play for you again.  But never has the challenge to preserve the music that you know and love been greater.

Hurricane Michael and the extensive damage to Panama City’s Marina Civic Center reduced seating capacity from 2500 to 582.

Guidelines related to COVID-19 have reduced seating capacity at the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center by 50%, from 582 to fewer than 300.

Please, help us “mend the revenue gap” created by the one-two punch of the hurricane and the pandemic.

Your gift today means that the next time you join us for a concert, your orchestra will be there to share the joy of live music as a healthy, vibrant and financially secure organization. 

Please consider the role music plays in your life and support the Panama City Symphony.

We thank you!

Introducing The Panama City Symphony Orchestra!

Conductor and orchestra

An orchestra is a living symbol of a community’s thriving cultural life.

A city with a vital arts base is a city with a flourishing symphony orchestra. With a thriving international airport, enhanced infrastructure, dedicated economic development, vast growth in housing, and the commitment to rebuild Panama City “Bigger, Better, Stronger,” the strength and resolve shown by community members and supporters have moved the city forward and lifted our spirits, and have fostered the image of an emerging cosmopolitan center.

Likewise, the Panama City POPS Orchestra, once a small, local troupe of volunteer musicians, has evolved into a high-quality, professional institution that has garnered attention across the Florida Panhandle and beyond.

In that spirit of development, the Board of Directors has voted to change its name to the Panama City Symphony Orchestra, effective July 1, 2020. The reasons are as follows:

• The new name offers versatility in future programming.
• It reflects the extremely high level of our performances, truly defining the Orchestra.
• It will attract stronger and more experienced musicians, producing higher quality performances.
• It will attract audiences from culture-based communities who look to settle in Bay County, raising the stature and image of our community.
• It will afford a stronger base for attracting potential funding partners.

Only the name will change. The Conductor and the Board are committed to maintaining the Classical/Pops format that our audience expects and embraces. We are committed to engaging and educating audiences of all ages. We are committed to excellence.

We thank you for your past support and for your anticipated interest in the future success of The Panama City Symphony Orchestra.

Myths & Muses - April 27, 2019. Sold Out.


Who inspired the composers of classical music? What motivated the music that survived through the ages?

Conductor David Ott and the Panama City POPS Orchestra will share the answers on stage Saturday, April 27, 7:30pm at the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center in the orchestra’s 23rd season finale, “Myths and Muses.”

Highlighting the program for the first half of the evening will be the Mozart’s romantic and powerful Symphony No. 40 in G minor, oft referred to as “The Great” symphony, played in its entirety. In the second half, The POPS will treat the audience to a menu of light classical works and popular pieces inspired by muses ranging from Mother Nature to modern fiction.

Despite a delayed start to its season the orchestra, conductor and board of directors were committed to performing, pledging to be a ray of hope for a community ravaged by fate, and upholding its promise to elevate Panama City as a cultural center in spite of numerous obstacles.

“This has been another wonderful year for The POPS,” remarks Connie Gittard , President of the organization’s Board of Directors. “The musicians have never sounded better and our community has recognized just how talented our local orchestra truly is. We are grateful for the community’s support, and we look forward to another outstanding season.”

In a letter written to his Board of Directors five days after the disaster, POPS Conductor and Music Director David Ott expressed optimism. “Take note that music is more than merely hearing lovely sounds. It reaches to the core of the soul and beyond. It inspires, heals, dramatizes and epitomizes the aspirations of man’s hopes.”

Raffle Drawings

Also that evening, The Panama City POPS will conduct two raffles: one of the framed original “Maestro” by local artist, Roy Zenner, the featured work of art on this season’s Panama City POPS Orchestra marketing materials, currently on display at the Panama City Center for the Arts in downtown Panama City; and a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings donated by David Adamson Designer Jewelry. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the orchestra’s annual fund.

About the Painting

The POPS acknowledges and thanks local artist Roy Zenner for his outstanding artwork which adorns the cover of this program.

“Maestro,” acrylic on board, framed and signed by the artist will be on display at each POPS concert. Between concert dates it may be seen hanging at the Panama City Center for the Arts.

Roy is a lifelong artist with success both in commercial and fine arts working in Detroit, Atlanta and San Diego. His clientele included automotive, magazine illustrations, architectural renderings, advertising brochures and catalogs. His fine art subjects are primarily people, places, and things that draw his interest. Acrylic is his main choice of media, but has also works in collage and mixed media. Zenner does not have an identifying painting style, because of the leftover influences of his commercial art days. “Use whatever technique or style it takes to fit the subject matter.”

About the Jewelry

The POPS appreciates Designer Jeweler David Adamson’s continued generosity in donating another piece of exquisite jewelry that someone will wear home at the end of the season: a pair of half-hoop earrings featuring 1 carat total weight diamonds set in 18k white gold and valued at $4989.00.

Getting There

The Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center is located at 501 Mosley Drive,
Lynn Haven, FL, 32444. Free parking is behind the venue, just off Minnesota Avenue.

Panama City POPS concerts start promptly at 7:30 pm.

Heroes and Super Heroes. By Popular Demand! March 9, 2019.

Local Heroes to be Honored by POPS Orchestra

A year ago when the Panama City POPS Orchestra was planning its 2018-2019 musical offerings, a family-oriented performance honoring local first responders and military servicemen and women and their families took shape.

“Heroes and Super Heroes” takes place this Saturday with not one, but two performances. The 7:30pm performance is sold out, and a second performance has been added at 4:00pm.

The matinée was added to allow The POPS to continue with its origin plan of offering free tickets to all local military units and local law enforcement and fire protection agencies.

“Now more than ever the Board of Directors is committed to honoring those who have been on the front lines protecting our community and defending our country,” states POPS Board President Connie Gittard. “We’re thrilled to be able to recognize these dedicated individuals and their families.”

Invitations were sent to commanding officers of the local municipal organizations and military installations. All active and retired professionals and their families are invited
to the 4:00pm concert. Admission is free, however, reserved seat tickets are necessary and may be obtained by calling 850-785-POPS (7677).

In light of the sold out status of the 7:30 concert, the general public may also purchase reserved seat tickets to the 4:00 performance at www.panamacitypops.org.

The Panama City POPS concerts are traditionally a combination of familiar, classical works and popular arrangements, with an occasional entertaining surprise folded in.
“Heroes and Super Heroes” pays tribute to the champions of our day with masterworks by some of classical music’s most memorable heroes, as well as modern media’s scores and soundtracks.

“If you’ve always wanted to hear directly from Ludwig van Beethoven with regard to his inspiration for the masterpiece, Eroica, that evening will be the time to do that,” hints POPS Conductor and Music Director David Ott with a sly smile. “There have been sightings of the composer during our rehearsals, and Beethoven just might make an appearance at the concerts.”

The second half of the concert will be a variety of modern media’s scores and soundtracks revering super heroes from all walks of life. “Think Superman and Star Wars,” says Ott. Folks attending the concerts are encouraged to wear their favorite super hero costume, and free super hero capes will be given out to junior super heroes in the audience. Live super heroes will be roaming the lobby during intermission and following the concert, available for photos with concert-goers.

Sponsors of “Heroes and Super Heroes” are Summit Bank, the Charles A. Whitehead Foundation, Curiosity Marketing Group, Commercial Disaster Recovery and M&H Construction Services LLC.

Season Finale

Who inspired the composers of classical music? You’ll know on April 27 when you hear the works of Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov. The POPS also welcomes acclaimed guest clarinetist, Richie Hawley, performing Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A Major.” The virtuoso is Professor of Clarinet and Chair of Woodwinds at the Shepard School of Music, Rice University, Houston, TX. Reserved seat tickets are available now.

Getting There

The Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center is located at 501 Mosley Drive,
Lynn Haven, FL, 32444. Free parking is behind the venue, just off Minnesota Avenue.

Panama City POPS concerts start promptly.

For more information about The POPS call (850) 785-POPS (7677).

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