Conductor Carlo Ponti, San Bernardino Symphony part ways


After 11 years as conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony, Carlo Ponti Jr. is stepping down. His final concert of the orchestra’s 2011-2012 season will be May 19.

Frank Fetta, conductor of the Redlands Bowl’s summer concerts and a frequent guest conductor with the San Bernardino Symphony, will assume Ponti’s post for the 2012-13 season.

“[Ponti] brought the orchestra to unprecedented levels of artistic achievement,” symphony board president Mary Schnepp said in a news release. “Under his leadership, donations and subscriptions rose to unprecedented levels.... He will be missed.”


A statement from Ponti said that the “orchestra, its musicians, board members and staff will always hold a special place in my heart,” but gave no reason for his departure.

Ponti, son of film star Sophia Loren and the late Italian film producer Carlo Ponti, began his San Bernardino Symphony tenure in 2000 guest conducting a star-studded benefit show. He was named music director and principal conductor a year later.

The conductor’s recent attendance has waned: The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that Ponti missed three concerts during the 2010-2011 season for unspecified health reasons and has spent time in Europe starting a family.

Ponti is currently with his family in Geneva, where his wife, Andrea, gave birth to their daughter last month.


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