Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces its 2017-2018 Season: “In Focus”; Artist Series Concerts’ 22nd season features 41 performances and covers a wide variety of musical offerings, including classical recitals, pops, jazz and cabaret concerts, a Bach festival, chamber soirées and the popular Lunch & Listen series

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Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces its 2017-2018 Season:

“In Focus”

Artist Series Concerts’ 22nd season features 41 performances and covers a wide variety of musical offerings, including classical recitals, pops, jazz and cabaret concerts, a Bach festival, chamber soirées and the popular Lunch & Listen series. 


(Sarasota-Manatee, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota enters its 22nd season bringing a diverse selection of musical experiences to the region with a dynamic line-up of established and emerging classical, cabaret, jazz and pops artists. The season, which runs September 2017 through May 2018, features 41 performances at a variety of venues throughout Sarasota County. Concerts cover a wide range of musical offerings, including classical recitals, pops, jazz and cabaret concerts, a Bach festival, chamber soirées and the popular Lunch & Listen series.

According to Dr. Joseph Holt, Artist Series Concert’s artistic director, the 2017-18 season will put everything “In Focus.” He explains that this year’s performances bring the work of individual composers and prevalent musical themes into crystal clarity. The season will also explore the work of film composers whose scores help frame the audiences’ understanding and emotional response to the images onscreen.

“Many of our concerts will explore iconic film scores that are inseparable from the movie experience,” says Holt. “The Rastrelli Cello Quartet showcases the music of James Bond films, and the Katona Twins, a European-based guitar duo, will celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with a movie-themed concert. Capping off the season is a celebration of film music at the Sarasota Opera House featuring some of the film scores that stay with you long after the credits roll.” Holt notes that, “Artist Series Concerts is thrilled to put the focus on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with BachFest Sarasota, a five-day, community-wide festival in November.”

Holt adds that Artist Series Concerts will continue to collaborate with leading national and regionally based organizations and musicians. “We’ll continue our successful collaborations with the Young Concert Artists of New York, with the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL), with musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra and Choral Artists of Sarasota, and with several regionally based groups,” says Holt. “These creative partnerships expand the diversity of our programming and our outreach into the community.”

John Fischer, Artist Series Concert’s managing director, notes that the organization presented its concerts in several new venues last season, due to construction at the Historic Asolo Theater. “That turned out to be blessing in disguise,” says Fischer. “We vastly expanded our audience—especially in Venice at the Venice Performing Arts Center. Although we’re thrilled to be returning to the Historic Asolo Theater this fall, we’ll continue to offer concerts at different venues throughout Sarasota County.”

The 2017-2018 season opens with “Piano Grand II” on October 7 at the Sarasota Opera House. Five world-class pianists on five Steinway & Sons concert grand pianos will command the stage. “We’re making good on our promise to reprise last year’s sold-out show,” says Holt. “We expect to fill every seat at the Opera House again with a brand-new program.”

Other season highlights include “BachFest Sarasota,” a five-day festival dedicated to the “greatest composer of all time,” says Holt, explaining that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. “Bach, a devout Lutheran, was one of the greatest of the Reformation composers. During this festival, we’ll learn about different aspects of Bach’s life as a composer—using the Reformation as a catalyst to reflect on how it deeply impacted the spiritual, social, and cultural terrain of the times.” The festival will take place at a variety of venues, November 15-19.

The season’s classical recital highlights include the acclaimed Calidore String Quartet performing a program showcasing music that influenced literary giants (October 28, 29); rising violinist star Bella Hristova (January 21); the renowned tango group Pablo Ziegler Quartet (January 28); Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quintet, a group known for taking classical works and transforming them into jazz arrangements  (February 25); Sarasota Orchestra’s first chairs, Joshua Horne, Daniel Jordan, Natalie Helm, and Bharat Chandra with Joseph Holt, piano, in a program entitled “Principally Brahms” (March 22); and Narek Arutyunian, clarinet, and Steven Beck, piano (March 4).

Pops highlights include jazz vocalist June Garber in “Cool Yule,” a tribute to the arrangements made by popular by Ella Fitzgerald (December 16, 17); pianist Richard Dowling in an homage to Scott Joplin (February 10, 11); the guitar duo Katona Twins performing a movie-themed concert celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday (February 18); pianist Richard Glazier in “From Broadway to Hollywood” (March 17); the Rastrelli Cello Quartet in a concert devoted to the music of James Bond movies (April 28, 29); and soprano Jennifer Sheehan with tenor Tad Czyzewski (May 13) celebrating the great film scores with the Choral Artists of Sarasota in “Showtime!” (A full season listing is included below.)

Artist Series Concert’s popular “Soirée” and “Lunch & Listen” series are also back this season with three Soirée performances presented in area residences, and an expanded Lunch & Listen schedule that features three performances at Michael’s On East and two in Venice at The Plantation Golf and Country Club.

Tickets for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2017-2018 season go on sale May 15. Visit to view the full schedule and ordering information, or call 941-306-1202 to request information by mail.


Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts’ mission is to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences. It accomplishes this through its performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for thousands of students and educators every year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts’ preeminent Sarasota National Music Scholarship Awards grants more than $20,000 annually to gifted, young musicians from around the country. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. For more information, visit


The 2017-2018 22nd Season at a Glance

Classical Recitals

(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)


  • “Literature in Music” with the Calidore String Quartet: Recent recipient of a Lincoln Center Emerging Artists award, the Calidore String Quartet is heralded for its informed, polished, and passionate performances. Their program, which includes works by Tchaikovsky, Janacek and Beethoven, weaves music and literature together in an illuminating story of art inspiring art. October 28, 7:30 p.m., and October 29, 2:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • BachFest Sarasota: “Intimate, Instrumental Bach,” A selection of violin and harpsichord selections, including Sonatas in A Major and C minor, French Suite for Harpsichord in B minor, with Thea Lobo, mezzo-soprano, Blake Friedman, tenor, Mark Kroll, harpsichord and Carol Lieberman, violin. November 16, 7:00 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota. 
  • BachFest Sarasota: “Pipe Organ: King of Instruments” with organists Ann Stephenson-Moe, Richard Benedum and Cynthia Roberts-Greene. November 17, noon, at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.
  • BachFest Sarasota: Bach to the Future with Ji”: Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a gifted young pianist who is clearly going places,” Young Concert Artists pianist Ji performs a program of artful Bach arrangements that includes “Chaconne,” English Suite in G minor, and transcriptions of the E Major Partita for Violin. November 17, 7:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • BachFest Sarasota: “Bach: Mass in B Minor” is a presentation of the Choral Artists of Sarasota. This choral highlight features one of Bach’s last completed compositions, performed by Choral Artists of Sarasota, with soloists Adelaide Boedecker, Thea Lobo, Blake Friedman and Calvin Griffin.  November 18, 4:00 p.m. and November 19, 7:30 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.
  • Young Concert Artists International: Bella Hristova, violin, with Amy Yang, Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova is a young musician with a growing international career. Praised by the Washington Post as a “player of impressive power and control,” Hristova performs works by Poulenc and Brahms. January 21, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota.
  • Global Jazz & Exotic Chamber Music with Ho’s Orchestrotica. Hailed by the Boston Globe as “a perfect cocktail of chamber, jazz, classical, and world music,” Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica references the exotica of composers ranging from Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich to George Gershwin, Martin Denny, and John Adams, creating global jazz and exotic chamber music laced with world-music flavors sourced from Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Latin America. February 25, 3:00 p.m., Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
  • Young Concert Artists International: Narek Arutyunian, clarinet and Steven Beck, piano. Young Concert Artists clarinetist Narek Arutyunian is an artist who “reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess and beguiling sensitivity” (Washington Post).  Arutyunian is joined by pianist Steven Beck for a program of works by Bernstein, Poulenc and Verdi. March 4, 5:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota.

Pops and Special Performances

(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)

  • “Piano Grand II!” They’re back! Five world-class pianists—Don Bryn, Joseph Holt, Andrew Lapp, Thomas Purviance and Jonathan Spivey—storm the stage of the Sarasota Opera House with five Steinway & Sons concert grand pianos and 50 talented fingers, returning with a brand-new program, the highlights of which include “Carmen Medley,” “Dance of the Hours,” “Capriccio Italien,” Sousa marches and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” October 7, 7:30 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.
  • “Cool Yule: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” featuring a return engagement by Canadian jazz vocalist June Garber. Accompanied by eight singers from Choral Artists of Sarasota and a trio of notable area jazz musicians, Garber performs a holiday tribute to the song stylings of Ella Fitzgerald, using Fitzgerald’s original arrangements.  December 16, 7:30 p.m., and December 17, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • “Tango!” with the Pablo Ziegler Quartet, featuring Latin Grammy winner Pablo Ziegler and his Quartet for New Tango.  Latin Grammy-winner Pablo Ziegler, the Buenos Aires-born pianist and composer who helped shape the modern tango, brings the rich, Argentine musical tradition of nuevo tangointo a chamber music setting with exquisite arrangements of his own compositions, as well as the music of tango legends like Ángel Villoldo, Gerardo Matos Rodríguez and Ástor Piazzolla. January 28, 3:00 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
  • “The King of Ragtime Writers: Scott Joplin” with Richard Dowling, piano. Concert pianist Richard Dowling appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals, at chamber music and jazz/ragtime festivals, and as a guest soloist in concerto performances with orchestras. Audiences and critics have acclaimed him for his elegant and exciting style of playing. Dowling celebrates the life and varied works—ragtime and even waltzes—of Joplin.  February 10, 7:30 p.m. and February 11, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • “The Celluloid Guitar” with guitar virtuosos the Katona Twins: Critically acclaimed by the Daily Telegraph as “the classical world’s best known guitar duo,” brothers Peter and Zoltán Katona move effortlessly between classical repertoires and more popular musical genres. In this concert, they perform a movie-themed repertoire that includes a celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, as well as music from “Pink Panther,” “The Deer Hunter,” and “Game of Thrones.” February 18, 3:00 p.m., at First Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
  • “From Broadway to Hollywood” with pianist Richard Glazier. An evening of tunes that found earlier fame on Broadway and later made it to the movies, including “Send in the Clowns,” “People,” “One,” and medleys from “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “My Fair Lady.” Glazier shares his lifetime love of each song and its origin with fascinating backstage stories and rare film clips. Mr. Glazier’s shows have won multiple awards, including four Telly Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment. He has been featured on the PBS NewsHour and has produced six CDs for Centaur Records. March 17, 7:30 p.m. and March 18, 3:00 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • “Broadway Our Way:” Carnegie Hall headliners Will and Anthony Nunziata bring their soaring tenor voices to “Broadway Our Way.” This high-energy concert includes such hits as “Somewhere,” “The Impossible Dream,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Feeling Good,” “New York State of Mind,” and many more.  March 25, 3:00 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
  • “James Bond in Cello Case” featuring the Rastrelli Cello Quartet. A singularly unique ensemble, the Rastrelli Cello Quartet has been thrilling audiences with their renderings of non-traditional programming since 2002. Founder and artistic director Kira Kraftzoff formed the ensemble with a mission to perform music “between the genres.” The quartet applies its magic to music from such iconic James Bond soundtracks as “Casino Royale,” “Moonraker,” “Diamonds are Forever,” “Live and Let Die,” “From Russia with Love,” “A View to a Kill,” and more. April 28, 7:30 p.m. and April 29, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • “Showtime!” a presentation by Choral Artists of Sarasota featuring guest soloists Jennifer Sheehan, soprano and Tad Czyzwewski, Music from movie classics featuring the hits of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald, Mario Lanza, Judy Garland and more—including a tribute to Mamma Mia! May 13, 3:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.
  • “Hurray for the Red, White & Blue” featuring the patriotic sounds of the Capital Brass Quintet, direct from Washington DC, with baritone Bob McDonald. May 19, 7:30 p.m. and May 20, 3:00 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.


Lunch & Listen: Sarasota

One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.

  • BachFest Sarasota: “The Illegitimate Bach,” featuring four members of the Choral Artists of Sarasota with Joseph Holt and Lee Dougherty Ross performing four hands piano. Highbrow meets low art in this tribute to the work of composer and musical satirist Peter Schickele and his zany altar ego, P.D.Q. Bach. The program includes such favorite spoofs as “Liebeslieder Polkas,” “Notebook for Betty-Sue Bach,” and much more. November 15.
  • Corda Voce with soprano Jenny Kim-Godfrey and classical guitarist Jonathan Godfrey: A selection of popular arias and songs performed by the charming and daringly virtuosic soprano and guitar duo. January 25.
  • “Ring Them Bells,” featuring the hand bell artistry of Ring Sarasota. The area’s premier handbell ensemble performs “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Fly me to the Moon,” “Hey Jude” and more.  It’s everything you’d never expect to hear from a handbell ensemble and then some.  March 1.
  • “Principally Brahms:” Joseph Holt accompanies four first chair musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra: Joshua Horne, French horn, Daniel Jordan, violin, Natalie Helm, cello, and Bharat Chandra, clarinet. The program includes Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano Brahms Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano.  March 22.


Lunch & Listen: Venice

One-hour concerts at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Boulevard, Venice.

  • “Dueling Pianos,” with pianists Rich Ridenour and Stacy Ridenour.  Audiences and critics have hailed Steinway artist Rich Ridenour as being amazingly versatile, masterfully musical and wickedly funny. His wife Stacy is also a skilled concert pianist, though she is probably better known for her role as development director with the Sarasota Opera. Together, this popular duo brings new spark to some of music’s most beloved classical masterworks and popular piano favorites.
  • “Heavenly Duets,” with Jenny-Kim Godfrey, soprano, Robyn Rocklein, mezzo-soprano and Joseph Holt, piano.  Hailed as “a fearless and confident performer with a beautiful high voice with excellent flexibility,” coloratura soprano Jenny Kim-Godfrey is quickly gaining notoriety for her “nightingale tone” and as an “invigorating stage animal and gifted recitalist. Mezzo-soprano Robyn Rocklein is known for her vibrant and flexible zwischen-fach voice and has appeared as a soloist in England, Austria, Germany, and throughout the USA.  Pianist Joseph Holt joins them in a program of works tailor-made to showcase the entrancing voices of this duo.

Soirée Series

  • Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Fischer/Wisenborne residence. Call for more information and address.
  • Romance of the Cello:” With Sarasota Orchestra principal cellist Natalie Helm, accompanied on the piano by Joseph Holt. The program includes sonatas by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff and Olivier Messaien’s Louange a L’Eternite de Jesus. September 24 and 25.
  • Young Piano Arts Award Winner Aristo Sham: Born in Hong Kong, Aristo Sham was first introduced to the piano at the age of three, and joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts at the age of six. The 21-year-old Piano Arts Award winner has given recitals on four continents and has performed for Prince Andrew at Windsor Castle, and the Queen of Belgium and President Hu of China on their respective visits to Hong Kong. He performs works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and Chopin.  December 5 and 6.
  • “From Cuba to Broadway” with soprano Sandra Lopez and pianist Paul Posnak: Internationally acclaimed soprano Sandra Lopez joins renowned pianist, recording artist and scholar Paul Posnak, performing Broadway favorites and works by renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Recuona. The program also includes a sampling of Posnak’s transcriptions of the original bravura improvisations of George Gershwin and Thomas “Fats” Waller. April 1 and 2.


Other special events

  • BBC’s Great Composers: Bach.” Noted composer, pianist and educator John Goodman presents, in conjunction with the Sarasota Music Archive, the exceptional 1997 documentary produced by the BBC on composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Kenneth Branaugh narrates the program, with appearances by great musicians, musicologists and theologian Karen Armstrong. Part of BachFest Sarasota. November 16, 2:00 p.m., Geldbart Auditorium at Selby Library.
  • Artist Series Concerts Friends presents its annual fundraiser in support of Artist Series Concerts’ competitions, as well as educational/community outreach programs. The event nets more than $50,000 annually. The 2017 ASC Friends’ gala is March 7 at Michael’s On East.
  • Artist Series Concerts National Competition for Strings will feature young musicians and takes place on April 7. The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players. From its inception in 2007 through 2015, Artist Series Concerts’ statewide young musician’s competition has come to be one of the most prestigious competitions in Florida, awarding more than $275,000 to nearly 80 talented young musicians. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. In 2016, the competition was opened to young musicians nationwide and awarded $26,000 to seven winners.
  • The Suncoast Music Scholarships, a new annual collaborative competition conducted and funded by Artist Series Concerts and the Sarasota Music Club, awards another $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The SMS auditions are scheduled for April 21.
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