History of The Venice Symphony
Founded in 1974, The Venice Symphony has become the pride of South Sarasota County by providing cultural enrichment for residents and visitors. The concert season includes classical, pops, and festival concerts performed from November through April and a variety of music education programs. Quality musical performance and educational opportunities that enrich the experiences of the community is the core mission of The Venice Symphony.
The Venice Symphony is funded through ticket sales, private and corporate contributions, grants, Tourist Development Council, Sarasota County Arts Council, Friends of the Symphony, and other philanthropic organizations. Management of orchestra personnel, music programs, the music library, concert production, marketing, and development are handled by dedicated individuals such that the publisher of a local newspaper has praised Venice Symphony as being one of the most exemplary models for efficiency in the arts.
Conductor Kenneth Bowermeister charms audiences with entertaining and informative comments about the compositions and their composers. Under his leadership and with the support of generous patrons, The Venice Symphony provides music for the community that represents the highest quality of musicianship and professionalism.
Maestro Bowermeister joined the Venice Symphony as Conductor/Music Director in 2009.
Maestro Bowermeister is a former conductor of Sarasota Pops, Florida West Coast Youth Symphony, the Florida West Coast Symphonic Strings and College Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Florida West Coast Sympony Orchestra, The Florida Chamber Orchestra and the Festival Orchestra or Oxford, England. In 2002, he directed the Florida All-State Seventh and Eighth Grade Orchestra and has served as conductor for many All-County Honors Orchestras throughout Florida as well as the Florida State University Summer Music Camp Orchestras. 2011/2012 is his third season with Venice Symphony.
Mr. Bowermeister retired as Director of Orchestras at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota at the close of the 1999-2000 school year. During his 30 years at Pine View he developed an award-winning string program which included more than 300 students in five orchestras. The Pine View Chamber Symphony received 16 consecutive years of Superior ratings at the annual Florida Orchestra State Festival.
The recipient of many honors, Mr. Bowermeister was selected as the Teacher of the Year at Pine View School on three occasions, was twice voted Sarasota County Music Educator of the Year, and in 1998 was chosen as the Sarasota County Middle School Teacher of the Year.In 1999, he was presented with the Sarasota County Arts Council Award for Outstanding Educational Leadership in the Arts.
Mr. Bowermeister perfomed for many years as a violinist with the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Assistant-Concertmaster for over 20 years. He is a pupil of the internationally renowned Hungarian violinist Kató Havas and is a well-known teacher of her exciting and revolutionary new approach to string playing. In addition to working with the students of his extensive private studio, Mr. Bowermeister has been the instructor for the Adult String Program of the Florida West Coast Symphony Music Education classes for the past six years.
A graduate of New College, the Honors College of the State of Florida, Mr. Bowermeister is a member the National Music Educators conference, the Florida Music Educators Association, the Florida Orchestra Association and the American String Teachers / National School Orchestra Association.
Mr. Kerr began his career with The Venice Symphony as their Development Director and was named its new Executive Director May 2012.
Doug Kerr is well known in the southwest region of Florida beginning with his leadership of the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation during a major expansion era in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In the years since he has been closely involved in helping develop various arts and human services projects in this region grow and thrive, including being among the arts leaders who founded the Sarasota County Arts Council, now known as the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.
Kerr had a long and successful tenure as Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, Doug was part of the leadership team which resulted in Venice completing its 2nd Phase project of the new Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club in Venice, established in 2000. Doug and his wife Gee Dee have lived in Sarasota County since 1982 and raised their two daughters here.
Music Personnel Manager
Lorraine comes to The Venice Symphony with an extensive management background. She recently retired from the University of California at San Francisco as Clinical Supervisor of a 28 suite surgical unit.
In addition to managing surgeons and staff for regularly scheduled cases, Lorraine coordinated emergency cases and was a longtime member of the UCSF Liver Transplant Team.
She is also an accomplished cellist and member of our symphony! She has played in many orchestras coast-to-coast including the Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra) as well as the Berkeley Symphony in California (under Maestro Kent Nagano).