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The Florida Orchestra sets its 2024-25 season

Bill DeYoung



Pianist Olga Kern will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with The Florida Orchestra. Photos provided.

The Florida Orchestra’s 2023/24 season winds down at the end of this month, but the organization is already making (musical) noise about the next one, Season 57, which will begin in early October.

Giving the downbeat, as expected, will be music director and conductor Michael Francis, who’ll be celebrating his 10th year as TFO’s musical mastermind.

“The new season is filled with incredible variety. We’re proud to work with soloists from the world’s great concert halls, as we continue to create spectacular experiences with familiar favorites while introducing new discoveries,” Francis enthused in a prepared statement.

It’s always about the music, of course, but those guest soloists – some of the world’s most accomplished classical musicians – add to the concert experience.

Guests for the new season include pianists Olga Kern, Tzimon Barto and Joyce Yang, violinist Stefan Jackiw and film composer James Newton Howard, who’ll conduct a program of his best-known movie themes.

Also booked in for this multi-dimensional season: The Percussion Ensemble, back in the bay area to perform Garth Neustadter’s Seaborne, a concerto for six percussionists, orchestra – and film.

The pops series includes orchestral tributes to Tina Turner, Motown, Nashville and “The Knights”: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Season tickets are available now; single concert tickets will go on sale July 29.

The Florida Orchestra website.


Masterworks series

Opening Night/Ravel’s Bolero: Michael Francis, conductor; Chelsea Guo, piano; The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Program: Chabrier: España; Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain; Villa-Lobos: Choros No. 10; Borodin: Polovtsian Dances; Ravel: Bolero. Oct. 5, Mahaffey Theater; Oct. 6, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3: Michael Francis, conductor; Francisco Fullana, violin; Program: Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3; Sibelius: Violin Concerto. Oct. 19 and 20 Mahaffey Theater.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5: Michael Francis, conductor. Program: Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra; Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 (arr. Mahler). Nov. 1, Straz Center; Nov. 2, Mahaffey Theater; Nov. 3, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Brahms’ Symphony No. 2: Aram Demirjian, conductor; Joyce Yang, piano (Grieg). Program: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Ballade;  Grieg: Piano Concerto; Brahms: Symphony No. 2. Nov. 22, Straz Center; Nov. 23, Mahaffey Theater.

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto: Nicholas Hersh, conductor;  Geneva Lewis, violin. Program: William Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony; Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody No. 1. Jan. 11 and 12, Mahaffey Theater.

Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations: Keitaro Harada, conductor; Inbal Segev, cello. Program:  Gabriela Lena Frank: Elegía Andina; Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme; Kodaly: Dances of Galánta; Bizet: Carmen Suites 1 & 2. Jan. 24, Straz Center; Jan. 25, Mahaffey Theater.

Debussy’s La Mer: Chelsea Gallo, conductor; The Percussion Collective. Program: Garth Neustadter: Seaborne (Film with Orchestra); Sibelius: The Oceanides; Debussy: La Mer. Feb. 7, Straz Center; Feb 8, Mahaffey Theater.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1: Michael Francis, conductor; Olga Kern, piano; Donnie Ray Albert, baritone; The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Program: Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1;  William Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast. Feb. 22 and 23, Mahaffey Theater.

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto: Michael Francis, conductor; Alexi Kenney, violin. Program: Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Smetana: Ma Vlast: Sarka and Vltava (The Moldau); Janacek: Taras Bulba. March 14, Straz Center. March 15, Mahaffey Theater; March 16, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet: Joseph Young, conductor; Robert Young, saxophone. Program:  John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine; Guillaume Connesson: A Kind of Trane Saxophone Concerto; Prokofiev: Suites from Romeo and Juliet. March 29 and 30: Mahaffey Theater.

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: Jeffrey Multer, violin and leader. Program: Mozart: Symphony No. 39; Vivaldi: The Four Seasons. April 5, Mahaffey Theater.

Pictures at an Exhibition: Michael Francis, conductor; Stefan Jackiw, violin (Korngold). Program: Hindemith: Mathis der Maler Symphony; Korngold: Violin Concerto; Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition. April 26, Mahaffey Theater; April 27, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Copland’s Symphony No. 3: Michael Francis, conductor; Tzimon Barto, piano (Gershwin). Program: Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman; Gershwin: Piano Concerto; Copland: Symphony No. 3. May 9, Straz Center; May 10, Mahaffey Theater.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 3: Michael Francis, conductor; Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano; Women of The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay; Lumina Youth Choirs. May 24 and 25, 2025, Mahaffey Theater.

Among James Newton Howard’s film scores: “Pretty Woman,” “The Fugitive,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Sixth Sense,” “I Am Legend” and “Fantastic Beasts.” He will conduct TFO Feb. 14 and 15.

Pops series

Country Hits/Songs from Nashville: Bob Bernhardt, conductor; Sept. 28, 2024, Mahaffey Theater.

Bette, Babs and Beyond:  Chelsea Gallo, conductor; music of Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and more. Oct. 12, Straz Center; Oct. 13, Mahaffey Theater.

Music of the Knights/Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Paul McCartney: Chelsea Gallo, conductor; Nov. 16, Mahaffey Theater.

Holiday Pops: Chelsea Gallo, conductor; Dec. 20, Straz Center; Dec. 21: Mahaffey Theater; Dec. 22, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Dancing in the Street/Music of Motown: Jeff Tyzik, conductor; Jab. 17 and 19, Straz Center.

Pretty Woman to Hunger Games/James Newton Howard Conducts His Greatest Hits: James Newton Howard, conductor; Feb. 14, Straz Center; Feb. 15, Mahaffey Theater.

Blockbuster Broadway: TBA, conductor; March 22, Mahaffey Theater; March 23, Straz Center.

Simply The Best: The Music of Tina Turner: Chelsea Gallo, conductor; May 16, 2025, Straz Center; May 17, Mahaffey Theater; May 18, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Ragtime, Blues & All That Jazz:  Byron Stripling, conductor; Bobby Floyd, keyboards; May 30, 2025, Straz Center.


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