The Florida Orchestra TFO Announces 2016/2017 Season: Beethoven, Bowie & Acrobats

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL — With increased concert attendance and rave reviews for new Music Director Michael Francis, The Florida Orchestra is releasing a blockbuster lineup of concerts for its 2016-17 season, debuting at the end of September with Francis conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and its glorious “Ode to Joy.” TFO’s 49th season also will include a special rock concert tribute to the late David Bowie and send cirque-style artists soaring over the orchestra for Cirque de la Symphonie.

And to keep up with demand for its overwhelmingly popular morning Coffee Concert series, the orchestra will add one concert at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, expanding the series from eight to nine. The Ruth Eckerd Hall Coffee series in Clearwater, which grew this season, will remain at four concerts.

For his second year as TFO music director, Michael Francis will delve into the power and beauty of Russian and French music, particularly in the orchestra’s core premier series of classical masterpieces, the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks.

“I have always been fascinated by the artistic relationships between countries.Russia and France have particularly enjoyed a long, intimate ­– and occasionally complicated – accord,” Francis said. “There is something about the mixture of Russian passion and French flair that is so magnetic. Hear the fervor of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff alongside the refined subtlety of Ravel and Debussy; the revolutionary insurgence of Stravinsky and Shostakovich alongside the elegant élan of Saint-Saens and Berlioz. The compositional schools may have been different, but when combined together… well, the fusion is positively electric!”


Building on the momentum of his inaugural year, Florida Orchestra Music Director Michael Francis will open the 2016-17 Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series with Beethoven’s towering Symphony No. 9, before delving into the power and refined beauty of Russian and French music.

Stellar guest artists include returning pianist Jeremy Denk on Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand and violinist Augustin Hadelich on Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole. There are seven TFO debut guest artists, including Dejan Lazic on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor;” stunning guitarist Milos on Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Jamie Barton with her magnificent voice on TFO premiere The Work at Hand by American Jake Heggie. Two TFO musicians will take the spotlight, Concertmaster Jeffrey Multer in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Principal Oboe John Upton for Mozart’s Oboe Concerto.

The Florida Orchestra’s new 2016-17 Raymond James Pops season takes off with acrobats and ends with a unique take on the American Songbook, led by Jeff Tyzik, one of the nation’s top pops conductors.

“When I say next season will reach new heights, I mean it right from the spectacular season opener: Cirque de la Symphonie, with acrobats and aerialists soaring over the orchestra,” said Tyzik, who was named TFO’s principal pops conductor in 2012. “The season also includes popular music from Broadway and New Orleans jazz — showcasing the incredible range of The Florida Orchestra musicians. And we’ll pay tribute to the great Ray Charles and Motown, as well as a century of the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.

To keep up with demand for its overwhelmingly popular morning Coffee Concert series, The Florida Orchestra will add one concert at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, expanding the series from eight to nine. The Ruth Eckerd Hall Coffee series in Clearwater, which grew this season, will remain at four concerts. Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina will continue to lead both series.

“Next season offers a variety of favorites you already love alongside some pieces that we can discover together,” said Malina. “There will be moving patriotic music in an American Salute, Gilbert and Sullivan favorites, the best of ballet music and some delectable ‘French Bonbons’ from composers such as Debussy and Ravel. As always, we’ll keep the atmosphere upbeat, with inside stories and anecdotes about the music.”

The 2016-17 Florida Orchestra Rock series will pay special tribute to a legend gone too soon, David Bowie, with a concert spanning his five-decade career. The greatest hits of Genesis and Journey round out the three-concert series at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

Showcasing the incredible range of TFO musicians, the Rock concerts are a totally different atmosphere from any other Florida Orchestra show. They combine a full rock band and vocalist with the orchestra, along with rock concert lighting. Rock series subscribers are treated like rock stars, too, with access to the Mahaffey Theater’s hospitality area in the atrium, with open bar for beer and wine, snacks and outdoor patio.

 

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