Home » News & Updates » News » PANAMA CITY LAUNCHES 26th SEASON


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.