2013-11-28 / Arts & Entertainment News

Symphony opens 40th season with new programs, director


MCCLYMONT MCCLYMONT The Palm Beach Symphony is opening its 40th season with its usual flair, with a concert Dec. 4 at the Society of the Four Arts.

It also launches the season with a new executive director, David McClymont, who previously was the top executive at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

He replaces Michael Finn, who left at the end of last season amid philosophical differences with the board.

“We did a national search to fill this position and we had some really interesting, qualified candidates to fill this space,” Dale McNulty, chairman of the Palm Beach Symphony’s board of directors, said by phone. “It came down to a local person, with local experience.”

You don’t get much more local than Mr. McClymont.

He grew up in Jupiter and came of age amid the surf of Jupiter and Juno Beach. He was manager at Bear Lakes Country Club for 15 years before joining the Marinelife Center, and he still is a competitive surfer.

The Palm Beach Symphony shown in performance at the Kravis Center. 
COURTESY PHOTO The Palm Beach Symphony shown in performance at the Kravis Center. COURTESY PHOTO Managing the orchestra is not that far removed from leading the Marinelife Center, he said.

“What you end up realizing at the end of the day is that it’s a business. It’s no different from executive level managers going from, say, a cosmetics company to a bicycle company. It’s still numbers. It’s still marketing. It’s still demonstrating value proposition, trying to establish competitive advantage, so at the end of the day. It’s trying to maximize revenue, decrease expenses, maximize your competitive edge,” he said from the orchestra’s offices at the Palm Beach Towers.

“He could really skip over and start work right away because he knows the players and knows the style of the Palm Beaches, which as you know is quite, quite different from anyplace else,” Mr. McNulty said with a laugh.

The orchestra’s artistic and music director, Ramon Tebar, ensures the quality of performances, he said.

“What we need is a person on the other end of the spectrum to make the symphony work,” Mr. McNulty said.

That’s where Mr. McClymont’s skills come into play.

“He has a solid, solid business experience and a certain demonstrated ability to raise money,” Mr. McNulty said.

That is crucial for the organization, which operates on an annual budget of just under $1 million, and has a season of a half-dozen concerts.

That season began Nov. 14 with a children’s concert at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens.

But it begins in earnest for adults with the anniversary-themed “Four Decades, Forty Years, Four Arts,” set for Dec. 4 at the Society of the Arts.

“The first concert, Ramon came up with this idea and it’s all his and its marvelously clever,” Mr. McNulty said. “It’s at the Four Arts, for the 40th year, it’s Beethoven’s ‘Fourth’ and Mozart’s ‘40th Symphony.’”

Not to mention it’s on Dec. 4.

In January, that theme of fours continues with “The Four Seasons.”

But the Jan. 9 concert at the Flagler Museum does not just include Vivaldi’s famous composition; it also includes Astor Piazzola’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.”

The orchestra departs from that theme for its Feb. 3 concert titled “Tubes & Pipes,” at the landmark Bethesda-bythe Sea Episcopal Church.

“It’s ‘Tubes & Pipes’ because it will be an organ concerto with the best organ up to Atlanta and the Palm Beach Symphony

Brass Ensemble,” Mr. McNulty said. “In this really Gothic church, it’s a really intriguing thing.”

On March 18, the ensemble moves to Mar-a-Lago.

“The next concert, we’re doing twice, first at New World Center at Miami, then at Mar-a-Lago the next day,” he said. Featured soloist will be Lola Astanova, who will perform Chopin.

The final concert of the season, set for April 6 at the Kravis Center, is titled “Romantic Interludes.” It has meaty fare, including Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture,” Sibelius “Finlandia, Grieg’s “Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.”

“It’s a very varied program,” Mr. McNulty said, adding that past seasons have been well received. “We’ve done so well with reviews. We’ve set the bar very high.”

So it’s not far removed from the Marinelife Center.

“The Palm Beach Symphony is very similar to Loggerhead. It’s very similar in that it’s steeped in tradition, lots of history, great product,” Mr. McClymont said. ¦

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