Sarasota Concert Association’s 2018 Great Performers Series January-April 2018; The series’ 73rd season features the return of the Royal Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestras, legendary pianist Emanuel Ax and the celebrated Takács Quartet

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Sarasota Concert Association’s

2018 Great Performers Series

January-April 2018

The series’ 73rd season features the return of the Royal Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestras, legendary pianist Emanuel Ax and the celebrated Takács Quartet. The season also includes the Staatskapelle Weimar on its historic first North American tour.


(Sarasota, Florida) Sarasota Concert Association celebrates its 73rd season with a roster of world-renowned classical artists and ensembles, including the return of several audience favorites from past Great Performers Series seasons. The 2018 Great Performers Series season, which runs January through April 2018, features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with conductor and violin soloist Pinchas Zukerman; the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst; virtuoso violinist Gil  Shaham, performing with pianist Akira Eguchi; the historic Staatskapelle Weimar; legendary pianist Emanuel Ax and a return engagement by the celebrated Takács Quartet.

While five of the concerts are at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the upcoming season features a sixth concert at Riverview Performing Arts Center.

“The response to our expansion to Riverview Performing Arts Center last season was overwhelmingly positive,” says SCA president Joy McIntyre.  She explains that audience surveys showed that, “extending the season and adding a sixth concert creates a stronger and more consistent presence in the community. It also allows for a greater diversity of musical selections.”

The 2017-18 Great Performers Series season opens on Thursday, January 11, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra featuring conductor and violin soloist Pinchas Zukerman performing a program of works by Weber, Beethoven and Dvořák.  Over the years, the RPO has become a byword for exceptional quality and versatility, undertaking a diverse range of activities from traditional concerts in concert halls to classical spectaculars and ‘cross-over’ concerts in arenas. World-renowned violinist and principal guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman has been praised by the New York Times for his ability to elicit “myriad details of phrasing and dynamic nuance” from the historic London-based orchestra.

The season continues on Monday, January 29, with the Cleveland Orchestra.  Long considered one of America’s great orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra stands today among the world’s most-revered symphonic ensembles. The orchestra brings its trademark “clarity, enthusiasm and commitment” (The New York Times), back to Sarasota, under the baton of acclaimed conductor Franz Welser-Möst.

The season’s third concert features Gil Shaham, violin, and Akira Eguchi, piano, Wednesday, February 21. Hailed for his extraordinary artistry, maturity and intelligence (The New York Times), Akira Eguchi has captivated audiences and critics throughout the world as a piano soloist, chamber musician, harpsichord player and collaborative pianist. Eguchi joins forces with Grammy award-winner and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year, violin virtuoso, Gil Shaham, who The New York Times has called “one of today’s preeminent violinists,” and who the Chicago Tribune says could “give the inimitable Jascha Heifetz a close race in the razzle-dazzle department.”

The season continues Monday, February 26, with Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Kirill Karabits, with Catherine Foster, soprano, and Sunwook Kim, piano. Founded in 1491, the Staatskapelle Weimar is one of the oldest and most illustrious orchestras in the world with a history that is closely tied to such legendary composers as Bach, Liszt and Strauss. Today, world-class soloists and conductors perform regularly with the orchestra, which is embarking on its first ever North American tour in 2018.  Named the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2013 “Conductor of the Year,” Kirill Karabits has appeared with notable ensembles around the world. In 2016 Karabits assumed the position of general music director and principal conductor of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar.

The Takács Quartet comes to Sarasota on Friday, March 16.  Hailed by the Chicago Classical Review as “a world-class ensemble at the height of its powers,” the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor, artfully mingling four distinct musical personalities to bring a constantly fresh insight into the string quartet repertoire. Their March program includes works by Mozart, Dohnanyi and Beethoven.  Please note: This concert is at Riverview Performing Arts Center.

The final concert of the season, Tuesday, April 3, features pianist Emanuel Ax.  Hailed by the Washington Post as “an extremely satisfying pianist; at home in a wide variety of music,” with a pianism that is “always thoughtful, lyrical, lustrous,” Emanuel Ax is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest pianists. A multi Grammy Award-winner, Ax is renowned for his performances with major symphony orchestras throughout the world, as well as for his chamber music collaborations with Isaac Stern, Young Uck Kim and his longtime friend Yo-Yo Ma.  Ax returns to Sarasota with a program of works by Bach, Beethoven and Liszt.

Five of the Great Performers Series concerts are at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The March 16th concert is at the Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way in Sarasota. Subscriptions for all six concerts are $130, $200, $275, $355, and $420. Single tickets go on sale on August 1. For subscription information, call 941-225-6500. Forms for subscriptions can also be downloaded at

SCA also presents a series of free daytime concerts that include performances by high-caliber, area-based artists, November 2017 through April 2018. The series is designed to offer a variety of musical genres, including classical, folk, and jazz, featuring both vocal and instrumental performers. The 2017-2018 concert season will be announced soon.


About the Sarasota Concert Association

The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) is a nonprofit organization that fosters greater appreciation for world-class classical music by offering the community two engaging programs from November to April. The Great Performers Series, in its 73rd season, brings world-renowned orchestras and chamber groups to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Riverview Performing Arts Center. The Music Matinee Series features outstanding regional artists in free community concerts at Beatrice Friedman Symphony Hall and other venues. For more information about SCA, visit

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