Florida Orchestra Announces 2014/2015 Concert Specials: Yo-Yo Ma and Ben Folds

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The Florida Orchestra Announces 2014/2015
Concert Specials: Yo-Yo Ma and Ben Folds
Henry Adams, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications


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ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Florida Orchestra (TFO) has announced two more concert specials on the 2014/2015 season: Acura/ELS Presents The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience Fri., Nov. 7, 2014, at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts – Carol Morsani Hall in Tampa, and The Florida Orchestra Gala Featuring Yo-Yo Ma Sat., Jan. 31, 2015, at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.  Both concerts feature The Florida Orchestra for one performance only of each of these special musical events.

Single tickets to individual concert specials go on sale to the public August 11, 2014.  Priority advance ticket orders are now available to “Acura/ELS Presents The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience” exclusively to 2014/2015 TFO subscribers of the Masterworks, Pops, Coffee and Rock series as a subscriber benefit.  “The Florida Orchestra Gala Featuring Yo-Yo Ma” is currently a save-the-date notice with priority advance ticket orders to subscribers later this spring.

To become a subscriber, call The Florida Orchestra ticket center at 727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 pm., or buy online at http://www.floridaorchestra.org/.

The Florida Orchestra Gala Featuring Yo-Yo Ma
Duke Energy Center for the Arts
Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg
Sat., Jan. 31, 2015

Acknowledged as one of the most accomplished and recognized figures in the world of classical music with an international following, cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform with The Florida Orchestra as part of a gala evening that will include pre-concert dinner and a post-concert reception on Sat., Jan. 31, 2015, at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.  This is a save-the-date notice with additional details about the programming and gala events being released later this spring

Yo-Yo Ma: Cellist and musician par excellence, Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most accomplished and recognized figures in the world of classical music.   He is also a cultural ambassador who has embraced many musical genres, styles and cultures to expand people’s appreciation and enjoyment of the great diversity of musical arts around the world, always focusing on the transformative power music can have in people’s lives.

In 1998, Ma established the Silk Road Project, a nonprofit arts and educational organization, which presents multi-cultural music performances by the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble, engages in cross-cultural exchanges and residencies, leads workshops for students, and partners with leading cultural institutions to create educational materials and programs.

Yo-Yo Ma is also widely recognized for his strong commitment to educational programs, taking time from his busy concert schedule whenever possible to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – musicians and non-musicians alike.  He has also reached young audiences through appearances on “Arthur,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street.”

In addition to a wealth of classical recordings, Yo-Yo Ma’s discography of over 90 albums (including more than 17 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests, including his multicultural musical performances with the Silk Road Ensemble.  He has made several successful recordings that defy categorization, among them “Hush” with Bobby McFerrin, “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, “Obrigado Brazil” and “Obrigado Brazil – Live in Concert.”  Ma’s recent recordings include Mendelssohn Trios with Emanuel Ax and Itzhak Perlman.  His new album, “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan, received the 2013 Grammy for Best Folk Album.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years and eventually going on to study with his principal teacher Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School.

He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Sonning Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), the Polar Music Prize (2012), and the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013). In 2011, Yo-Yo Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Appointed a Culture Connect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Yo-Yo Ma has met with, trained and mentored thousands of students worldwide, including in Lithuania, Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and China.  Ma serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities.  He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

Acura/ELS Presents
The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Carol Morsani Hall in Tampa
Fri., Nov. 7, 2014

Multi-platinum selling, singer-songwriter Ben Folds will perform many of his pop hits with The Florida Orchestra on this program that also features him as the soloist in his own piano concerto, composed in 2012 that Folds conceived as a unique blend of three movements that test the bounds of traditional orchestral music.  Part of “The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience” 2014 tour of the U.S., U.K. and Australia, this concert is on Friday, November 7, 2014 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts – Carol Morsani Hall in Tampa.  Jacomo Bairos conducts.

Tickets are $35, $55, $75 and $95 and are on sale now exclusively for subscribers of any series on The Florida Orchestra’s 2014/2015 season.  Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on August 11, 2014.  For information contact The Florida Orchestra Ticket Center at 727-892-3337 or 800-662-7286 Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm or Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 3pm.

Ben Folds: Folds was the front man of Ben Folds Five before going on to have a successful solo career.  A critically acclaimed celebrity judge on NBC’s “The Sing Off,” Folds has earned a reputation as a singular and influential voice in the world of popular music.  In addition to numerous albums and a recent reunion tour with Ben Folds Five, Folds has recorded multiple studio albums as well as records documenting his renowned live performances.  Folds owns the famous RCA Studio A in Nashville, where legendary music from all genres, including Grammy-winning symphony albums, has been recorded.

A member of the board of the Nashville Symphony, Folds has performed with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including record-breaking sell-out Australian symphonic shows, repeatedly sold-out shows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with the National Symphony Orchestra, and with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Folds is a member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans for the Arts, and is also an outspoken advocate for music therapy and music education.

Jacomo Bairos, Conductor: Lisbon-born Jacomo Rafael Bairos is the music director of the Amarillo Symphony.  Prior to that he was the associate and guest conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2013.  His guest conducting engagements in the U.S. include the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Jacksonville, North Carolina, Charleston, Greater Bridgeport, Tallahassee, Lake Forest and Bangor, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  Abroad, he has conducted performances with Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Orquesta National do Porto in Portugal, as well as the orchestras of Iceland, Singapore, and Leipzig, among others.

As an accomplished and award winning tubist, who at age 18 was the first tubist in the history of the Aspen Music Festival to win the festival-wide concerto competition.  He performed, toured and recorded with the New York Philharmonic in addition to the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati and Seattle, and he has held principal posts with orchestras in America, Spain, China and most recently was principal tuba for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2007.


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The Florida Orchestra presents the 14-concert Tampa Bay Times Masterworks Series and the 9-concert Raymond James Pops Series, both of which are performed in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Other concert series include the 8-concert morning Coffee Concert series in St. Petersburg, the 3-concert morning Coffee Concert series in Clearwater and the 3-concert Rock series in St. Petersburg.  The orchestra also offers a variety of free Pops in the Park concerts around the bay area, including the annual Ashley for the Arts Pops in the Park concert at St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park.  Furthermore, the orchestra presents a variety of Youth Concerts and other educational and community engagement activities serving thousands of school children throughout the Tampa Bay area annually.


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