Welcome to The Florida Orchestra Blog
Our goal: a steady beat of TFO stories you won’t get anywhere else, including news, peeks backstage, concert previews, musician profiles, photo albums, videos and much more. Make your TFO concert experience exceptional, and join the conversation with The Florida Orchestra’s blog.
Principal Tuba Bill Mickelsen has played thousands of concerts for TFO in 40 years, but few notes have resonated like low B-flat for a swamp full of alligators. We look back with author Jeff Klinkenberg as Bill retires.
Might not sound like Mozart – yet! – but kids can feel like him when they pick up a violin […]
TFO musicians performed more than 130 concerts this season. Whew! As the season ends, it’s time for umbrella drinks and long vacations, right? If only. Find out how some musicians keep busy over the summer, today on the TFO Blog.
Violinist Sarah Shellman searched high and low for just the right dresses for her concerto performances. Turns out one had been hanging in her mom’s closet since the ‘70s. Each dress has a story, today on the TFO Blog.
Way to go, Lincoln Sandham! The FSU student will have his piece, Silver Glass, premiered by TFO in May. His inspiration? Straight from The Lord of the Rings books. Find out more about the winner of TFO’s Student Composer Competition today on the TFO Blog.
TFO violinist Sarah Shellman dedicated a year of her life to preparing a concerto for this weekend. Her husband, Greg, lived through it all. Get the inside scoop, today on the TFO Blog.
As TFO’s Sarah Shellman practices her upcoming violin concerto, her husband dares to admit what few will: “I like contemporary classical music.” He makes his case, today on the TFO Blog.
We at The Florida Orchestra dislike sitting in traffic on the Howard Frankland Bridge as much as the next person. With the Cross Bay Ferry in action again, I wondered, can I skip the traffic and get a view?
Wishing you could hear TFO’s performance of The Planets again? Or how about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue? You’re in luck! WSMR will be broadcasting 11 of our concerts starting March 28. Click thru for a complete schedule.
Sitting in the audience at The Planets last weekend, Joanne Biringer heard her set of orchestra bells ring out from TFO for the first time. The vintage bells she has played since she was 7 years old have found a new home.
World-class pianist Anne-Marie McDermott talks about what goes through her mind – or not – as she performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 this weekend with TFO, including a bonus Inside the Music concert.
This TFO violinist’s house is filled with more cats than music. Find out why today on the TFO blog.
It’s easy to be entranced by soloist Joshua Roman in the Bates Cello Concerto. But if you hang out in the percussion section, it’s all about the cowbells and thumb pianos. Tuned, of course. See and hear what we found, today on the blog, with video clips.
“Classical rock star” Joshua Roman performs the Bates Cello Concerto, written just for him. What’s it like to work with a composer who’s alive? Today on the blog.
When beloved maestro Thomas Wilkins returned to conduct Gershwin this week, it was like coming home – and not just because he still lives in Tampa Bay. Read about the former TFO conductor and this weekend’s concerts on the blog.
A Tampa Bay couple combines their passion for music and technology into one stellar “orchestra of lights” on their home. Even the maestro dropped by for the Star Wars vs. Star Trek display. You can still see it through Jan. 5!
Music Director Michael Francis is adding another conducting position, this one with a long commute: Germany.
When Meghan Lance took over as the orchestra director at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School, she had her work cut out for her. “I remember my first year thinking that the orchestra sounded like The Sister Act choir of orchestras. They were all playing at different times, horribly out of tune, I was like, ‘What is happening?!’“ Mrs. Lance said.
On Nov. 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms, state-sponsored terrorism, against the Jews in Germany and Austria. Within a few short hours, thousands of synagogues, Jewish businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed.
This weekend The Florida Orchestra’s “Quilting Violinist,” Linda Simon Hall, will be a celebrity judge at a quilt show put on by the Peacemakers Quilt Guild of Brandon. It’s aptly themed “A Symphony of Colors.”
This week is The Florida Orchestra’s first-ever Pride Weekend, celebrating Tampa Bay’s vibrant LGBTQ community with the music of Bernstein’s Broadway (Oct. 5-6), conducted by Michael Francis.
Starting this weekend, The Florida Orchestra is amping up its kid-sized Family Concerts by joining forces with other Tampa Bay organizations that cater to children.
Composers often use the orchestra like a giant paintbrush, splashing colors across an imaginary canvas, evoking ideas and images through a bundle of instruments.
John Shaw never tires of his top concert pick of the season – which percussionists know well from auditions. Today on the TFO Blog.
In less than two years, our Teaching Artist partnership with Pinellas County schools has become so successful that we’ve hired a second musician. Violist Kaitlin Springer joins violinist Kristin Baird to work with orchestra programs in Pinellas public schools.
Flute/piccolo player Sandra del Cid-Davies has a way of getting to the heart of her 5 concert picks for the season: “The Beethoven will triumph and the Rachmaninoff will sweep audiences off their feet.”
Jeffrey Stephenson’s top concert picks are two stellar programs. Tip: If you hear someone singing from the orchestra, look at the English horn player.
I can easily say I’m most excited about the Masterworks concert in which I’m soloing on Anna Clyne’s The Seamstress. Clyne’s music is expansive and haunting in general.
My first concert as a principal timpanist was with the Anchorage Symphony in February 1970 celebrating the bicentennial of Beethoven’s birth. The program in 1970 was Egmont Overture and the Fifth and Seventh symphonies, a program that would challenge me now.
The Florida Orchestra musicians will play more than 130 concerts in the 2018/19 season. That’s hundreds of works and thousands of pages of music. Which ones are they most looking forward to?
Good news: We are adding to our stellar conducting team. The Florida Orchestra has named Daniel Black as assistant conductor, a guiding force for our growing lineup of community concerts. He joins the orchestra in the fall for the 2018-19 season.
For the second year in a row, The Florida Orchestra has set a record for ticket sales, with 125,700 paid seats in the 2017-18 season. That’s two consecutive seasons above the 100,000 mark. Add in free tickets and community concert crowds, and the count climbs to more than 215,000. Not bad for our 50th birthday party. Thank you, Tampa Bay!
Avid TFO fan and supporter Diane Fair has always loved music: “It affects me. I can hear a particular piece and become emotional remembering happy and sad times.” Find out more about Diane and why she loves TFO today on the blog.
For David Browne, winning The Florida Orchestra’s Student Composition Contest was a dream come true. “Shattered Clock Fanfare is a musical depiction of a recurring dream I had as a child wherein I was forever lost in a universe where time never existed,” said Browne, 22, in his artist statement on the short work, which premieres on the Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony concert May 18-20.
Ever since Oleg joined The Florida Orchestra in 1993, he has penciled sketches that capture the concerts he performs in. Most are caricatures that use a stroke of humor to portray the conductor, guest artist or a fellow musician.
As Tampa Bay cheers on the Lightning in the Stanley Cup playoffs, we’ll be the only ones bringing it with […]
From the moment you walk into the Straz Center on Friday, Florida will come to life through art and music. Fourteen works of art, all inspired by Florida, will be displayed in the Morsani lobby by the Life Enrichment Center for the Arts (LEC).
#GIVEDAYTAMPABAY reminds us about giving back and showing appreciation for what is important in our lives. Your Florida Orchestra believes […]
To say the earth will tremble this weekend when The Florida Orchestra stages Verdi’s Requiem seems a bit dramatic. But that’s Verdi for you.
Located 30 miles north of Prague, Terezin/Theresienstadt was turned into a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp by the Nazis after their occupation of Czechoslovakia. The camp was unusual in that inmates included highly educated Jewish scholars and scientists as well as internationally renowned artists, musicians and actors including Czech composer Rafael Schächter and the famous German rabbi Leo Baeck.
Violinist Zubaida Azezi is a recent New World Symphony alumna, before she joined TFO at the beginning of the 2017/18 season. Her passion for music has led her to perform on international stages in Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
In the summer of 1981, I had the privilege of an invitation for lunch at the St. Petersburg home of Irwin Hoffman and Esther Glazer. It was a hot day, and soon after greeting me at the door, the couple offered a pitcher of lemonade and sandwiches ─ and a genuine curiosity about the 25-year-old journalist sitting in their living room.
In classical music, it can be easy to overlook the influence of women. Beethoven! Mozart! Tchaikovsky! But now more than […]
You know you’re getting old when you find in a desk drawer a ticket stub to the opening of The Florida Orchestra’s 1981-82 season.
Eighteen years ago, I spent an afternoon at the Brandon home of Michael Ippolito, where he sat at the piano talking about his newly composed Rhapsodie Pathetique. He played a passage and looked at me, confidently. “I’m the piano,’’ he said, “and the orchestra is the world.’’
Expecting a bit of a letdown after our grand 50th anniversary celebration? Don’t. Music Director Michael Francis has put an enormous amount of thought into programming every concert in our most wide-ranging season yet, which starts in the fall. “It’s our first chance to show where we’re going as an orchestra in our new era,” he said.
Dorothy Hindman isn’t your typical classical composer. Her music is fearless, post-modern, tightly wound, sometimes digital, punctuated with punk, and always ear-opening. Music critics describe her compositions as visceral, profound, spectral. Some works cascade into a state of entropy, like a swirling black hole in deep space.
Classical music is thriving underground in St. Petersburg. On the second Monday of the month, local musicians get together to perform in Classical Revolution St. Pete, a night of straight-up, high-caliber chamber music in the Iberian Rooster’s basement lounge for whoever wants to listen. For free.
A little more than a week before rare performances of Janacek’s Sinfonietta, TFO Personnel Manager Perry Landmeyer was in a bit of a panic. The piece calls for 12 trumpet players, instead of the typical three or four. Suddenly, he was one short.
It’s not every day that a classical composer sits down and writes a piece of music about your home town. But that’s what Daniel Crozier did with his newly minted Splendor Fountain, his homage to the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater area.
Anybody who meets Sandra del Cid-Davies, who joined TFO on flute/piccolo this season, knows she has a passion for music and life that far outsizes her tiny piccolo. And it certainly comes through in this Q&A, which feels like a friendly chat over a piece of chocolate cake.
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and December performances of Handel’s Messiah. The world’s most famous oratorio appears every holiday season, with hundreds if not thousands of productions by professional and amateur groups around the world.
For gamers, this is a big deal: Internationally revered FINAL FANTASY composer Nobuo Uematsu will attend both of The Florida Orchestra’s performances of Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY® coming up in just weeks at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. This is Uematsu’s first time attending concerts in Florida.
For Stuart Malina, Common Fanfare for an Uncommon Orchestra was uncommonly difficult to compose. In fact, it almost never happened at all.
For the third year in a row, The Florida Orchestra musicians are collecting toys and other items for Tampa Bay families in need.
A pair of natural wonders of the classical music world come to life this weekend when The Florida Orchestra performs the most popular works of Max Bruch and Franz Schubert, featuring Concertmaster Jeffrey Multer.
We are barely into the second month of our 50th anniversary season, but The Florida Orchestra has already performed “side-by-side” with 275 students – enough musicians to create four orchestras. As TFO’s community engagement manager, I help make these experiences happen, but do they make a difference to students?
Like many American kids growing up, Kevin Wilt dreamed of being a superhero. One day he was Batman, jumping across skyscrapers as crowds on the streets looked up in awe. The next day he was Spider-Man, spinning a web of intrigue over the city skyline.
In just one week, The Florida Orchestra performed for nearly 30,000 people — almost all for free. It was an exhilarating, exhausting run as musicians and staff, led by Music Director Michael Francis, traveled to Pasco County, Tampa and St. Petersburg for hospital, youth, side-by-side and park concerts.
This just might be the most intriguing title of a work in the entire Florida Orchestra season: Horizon Gravy. Sounds delicious, but what does it mean? We asked Paul Reller, a University of South Florida associate professor of music who composed the piece as part of TFO’s Florida Fanfare Project to celebrate its 50th season.
Brace yourself for the boom of cannons, when The Florida Orchestra lights the fuse on Tchaikovsky’s rousing and riotous fanfare, the 1812 Overture.
Starting this Thursday, you can hear a full Florida Orchestra concert on Tampa Bay’s classical radio station WSMR. And it’s a doozy: the phenomenal performance of Carmina Burana recorded live on opening night little more than a week ago.
When Florida Orchestra Principal Percussionist John Shaw first saw the GEICO “Triangle Solo” commercial on TV, his wife said, “Don’t do that onstage.”
She should have known better.
By Erin Horan TFO Community Engagement Director This Saturday, The Florida Orchestra horn section will do two performances of The […]
For the first time in more than four decades, The Florida Orchestra has a new principal clarinet on stage. Meet Natalie Hoe, 23, who makes her debut this weekend when TFO opens its 50th anniversary season with Carmina Burana. This is Hoe’s first professional position, which she was awarded…
In last weekend’s concerts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Principal Flute Clay Ellerbroek and Assistant Principal Flute Daphne Soellner performed partly on recorders. And they will again on the just announced second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They didn’t have to; the parts were optional. So why go to all the trouble? Ellerbroek explains.
It might be the most popular piece of classical music you’ve never heard of. Such is the fate of Carmina Burana, a rousing and exotic work for chorus and orchestra by the German composer Carl Orff, who would be blown away by how his lone masterpiece has populated popular culture.
Being a music director is a lot more than leading an orchestra on stage. Nobody knows that better than Michael Francis. Just look at where he’s popped up within the last two weeks as we get ready to launch our 50th anniversary season.
Ever since we announced The Florida Orchestra’s 50th anniversary gala concert with Sting, it’s been pretty crazy at the orchestra offices. It quickly became apparent that because this is not a typical Florida Orchestra concert, we could not sell tickets the typical way.
Let’s get the most obvious question out of the way: Why start a blog? Because we think there’s a lot you’d like to know about your Florida Orchestra, especially as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. There is an insane amount going on this season!