SYMPHONY OF THE AMERICAS
Maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese, Artistic Director
Rose Miniaci, Maestro’s Chair
Enrich the cultural environment of South Florida and the Americas
by presenting diverse orchestral music and international ensembles on an intimate scale for public, outreach, and student educational presentations, taking a leadership role in fostering cultural relations with the Americas.
The American Baroque of Florida, founded in l987, was a choral organization performing Baroque chamber repertoire. Expansion in 1991 brought appointment of James Brooks-Bruzzese as Musical Director, the addition of an orchestral four-concert vocal/instrumental concert series, and a changed organizational name: Sinfonia Virtuosi and Chorus of Florida. 1991-93 included the Sinfonia's official gala opening of the Amaturo Theater, our performance home at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The inaugural summer of the music festival, Summerfest (co-sponsored by the BCPA) and a Latin American tour. The documentary, Seasons of Change, featuring the Maestro and Hungarian Virtuosi, was filmed in Budapest and premiered by PBS. The support group, Exito, was formed to secure financial support for the Symphony from the south Florida Hispanic community.
1993-94 saw the addition of a fifth concert to the subscription series. The educational program expanded to include a residency of young, international Russian competition winners performing public and educational concerts. Symphony musicians were joined by members of the Budapest Chamber Orchestra for Summerfest. A relationship with Ballet Florida brought joint Palm Beach County presentations and shared office space in Broward.
1995-96 brought a name change to Symphony of the Americas to reflect more accurately the mission of enriching the cultural environment of south Florida and the Americas by presenting diverse orchestral music and international ensembles on an intimate scale. The Symphony became the first south Florida arts group to publish bi-lingual program notes. Education expansion included string instructional programs for at-risk youth & programs for over 6,000 students. The Symphony was chosen for a continuing association with the Kennedy Center in an educational collaboration for the ongoing planning of participatory workshops for teachers in the integration of the arts across a non-arts curriculum Two new CD's of Summerfest were released. The Symphony was featured in a one-hour PBS nationwide documentary with the int’l Murray Dranoff Two-Piano Competition.
1996-97 brought the addition of Jazzy Classics - full orchestral educational program for 5,000 children that combined the orchestra with the Caruso Jazz Trio to integrate the elements of classical music and jazz. SOA musicians were joined by the internationally known Cappella Istropolitana orchestra, known to millions by their more than 100 Naxos recordings, for Summerfest concerts in five Florida counties plus Latin America. 1997-99 brought a partnership with Palm Beach Symphony for Palm Beach concerts. Each int’l guest artist appearing with the Symphony of the Americas presented workshops/perf. to 6,000+ students. Education program featured side-by-side performances w/youth orchestra & Symphony in a composition by Broward students with guidance of David Heckendorn, composer/arranger for Mr. Holland’s Opus, focusing on Everglades & environment combining musical themes & photos by noted Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher.
1999-2001 Five new orchestral educational programs added, including Peanut Butter’N JamBoree and Character Education Through the Sound of Music. The Symphony partnered with the Concert Assoc. of Florida to produce performances by American Ballet Theater. Summerfest included Kennedy Center & U.S. State Department performances. Yamaha named Symphony’s official piano.
2001-2003 Additional venues were added in Boca Raton, Miami, Coral Springs, Boca Raton for repeat performances of Guest Artist Series. SOA establishes internship/course credit relationships for students of Miami Dade College, FAU, and the conservatory at Lynn University. Members of the Symphony performed at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires together with members of Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra as a part of Summerfest.
2004 – 2005 Two new support structures formed: the Virtuosi Society – upper level membership incl. concert subscription, fund-raising event of choice, and members’ picture printed in season program guide. Symphony of the Americas Society (formed by leading women in community and many board members of former Philharmonic) raises $ 75,000 in inaugural year. Summerfests feature Czech Moravian Virtuosi & Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra. Latin American outreach performances include a 2005 humanitarian tour of Haiti partnering with Rotary Int’l and Int’l Sister Cities. Additional partnership with Broward Center for Perf. Arts brings Brazilian connection with concerts at BCPA (Jobim Sinfonico) and 3 cities of Brazil throughout 2004 – 2005 season.
2005 – 2007 Maestro Brooks-Bruzzese was the Arts honoree at the prestigious National Hispanic Heritage Awards - aired on nat’l television from the Kennedy Center in October 2005, and conducted a joint performance with musicians of the Symphony of the Americas and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in conjunction with the Awards.
Two major gifts to the Endowment were announced: A Legacy Challenge Gift of $ 1 million from Stephen A. Keller to establish the Legacy Fund, and the Stephen A. Keller Guets Artist Series, and a matching gift from Rose Miniaci of $ 1 million to establish the Rose Miniaci Maestro’s Chair. An additional gift of $100,000 was given by Stephen Keller for stabilization and operations. In honor of the Symphony’s 20th Anniversary Season, a gift of $150,000 was announced from the Michael & Madelyn Savarick Foundation.
An additional concert was added to the Guest Artist Series, and a continuing relationship established with the Community for Performing Arts in Boca Raton for repeat performances of the Symphony’s Series.