When the Florida Orchestra’s 52nd season was announced, back in February, there were still many months of performances left to go in the 51st. It was all TFO, all the time.
All that ended in May, and music director Michael Francis, the associate conductors and the musicians themselves have been pretty much MIA over the long, hot summer.
The waiting is the hardest part, is it not?
Season subscribers already have ticket access to all the 2019-2020 shows, but single tickets – for example, you want to catch Beethoven’s 5th but have no interest in Vivaldi, Copland or the Rolling Stones tribute – go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Cherry-pickers unite!
This is as good a time as any to turn our attention to a few of the highlights of the upcoming season.
All shows are at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, unless otherwise indicated.
Sept. 28: Opening Night. With Francis conducting, and guest pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, the program includes Gershwin: Cuban Overture; Grieg: Piano Concerto; Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3; Mason Bates: Mothership; Ravel: Bolero.
Beethoven figures prominently in this season, Francis said, because it leads up to the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2020:
Oct. 12: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. German cellist Maximilian Hornung solos on what TFO is calling “Beethoven on steroids, a rare performance of the Mahler version of Symphony No. 3”; Strauss’ Don Quixote is also on the program.
Dec. 7: Although the main draw here is the appearance of guest soloist Natalie Hoe on Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, the program also includes Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture, along with Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique.”
Jan. 18 and 19: Gilles Vonsattel guests on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also on the bill are Rimsky-Korsakov: Golden Cockerel Intro/ Wedding March and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (Ballet in One Act).
Feb 22 and 23: With Larry Rachleff conducting, Simone Lamsma, Dutch violinist, plays the beautiful Beethoven Violin Concerto. Rachleff also conducts Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, along with Concerto for Orchestra by Bartok.
March 7: The brilliant South Korean pianist Joyce Yang plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the orchestra; the program includes performances of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7, and Symphony No. 8 by – you guessed it – Beethoven.
April 18 and 19: Vladimir Kulenovic conducts Respighi: Fountains of Rome and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, while violinist Augustin Hadelich is guest soloist on Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 1.
May 2: The program includes Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Scribian’s Poem of Ecstacy, but the big draw is Beethoven’s immortal Symphony No. 5 (arranged by Mahler).
May 22: With Dejan Lazić, piano: Beethoven’s Piano Symphony No. 4. Plus Brahms’ 2nd, and the debut of a work by the TFO Student Composer Competition Winner.
Pops & family highlights
Oct. 5: Revolution/The Music of the Beatles. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road. With arrangements by conductor Jeff Tyzik.
Nov. 3, Palladium Theater: “One Giant Leap.” Just in time (well, nearly) for the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. Set to NASA footage, this TFO concert (conducted by Daniel Black) includes selections with space themes – The Planets by Holst, John Williams’ E.T., et cetera. With introductions to the instrument families of the orchestra, and other family activities.
Nov. 9: American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is in front of TFO for his Deep Field: A Cosmic Experience. With celestial video from the Good Ship Hubble, and vocals by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. He’ll also conduct Bernstein: Chichester Psalms and Copland: Quiet City.
Nov. 22: The Music of the Rolling Stones. Singer Brody Dolyniuk and a full rock band join conductor Brent Havens for a deep dive into the Stones’ most fertile period, 1968-69 (just in time for the 50th anniversary of Let it Bleed).
Nov. 23: Ghostbusters! Live. With Peter M. Bernstein, conductor, TFO plays the full soundtrack to the classic 1984 comedy – as the movie itself screens behind the musicians.
Dec. 14 (two shows): Holiday Pops. Santa and company join conductor Daniel Black and the TFO gang.
Dec. 20: The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and TFO, with Handel’s Messiah. At midnight.
Jan. 11 (two shows): Lush Life: Ellington & Strayhorn featuring Byron Stripling, conductor and trumpeter, on one of jazz’s greatest catalogues.
Feb. 29: Sarah Hicks conducts Out of This World, another space-centric symphonic show – (inter) stellar music from Star Trek, E.T., The Planets, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and more.
April 25: Music from the Roaring ‘20s – from the likes of Rudy Valee, Josephine Baker and even Kurt Weill, in a program called Probibition. With three vocalists (to be announced), vintage imagery and Jeff Tyzik at the podium.
May 16 (two shows): Superhero Soundtracks applies the TFO touch to grand themes from the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Supergirl, X-Men: The Last Stand and more. Stuart Chafetz conducts.