By Henry Adams
Florida Orchestra concerts: a morning Coffee Concert of national dances and rhythms (Thursday, November 1); the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba performing Cuban and mainstream classics (Wednesday, November7); The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay joining the orchestra for Vaughan Williams’ prayer for peace Dona Nobis Pacem (Friday-Sunday, November 9-11); Brahms’ famed Double Concerto (Friday-Sunday, November 30-December 2) and two pops programs, which include an all-Gershwin show (Friday-Sunday, November 2-4) and a concert of film music from Casablanca to John Williams’ scores (Friday-Sunday, November 23-25).
The Raymond James Pops series opens with a multimedia concert celebrating the genius of George and Ira Gershwin with hits such as Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm, Strike Up the Band, The Man I Love and other favorites. Featuring leading Gershwin interpreter Kevin Cole, Grammy award-winning soprano Sylvia McNair, and tap dancing sensation Danny Gardner, this concert event also showcases rare audio and video footage, family photos and elegant, state-of-the-art visuals of the Gershwins. Sarah Hicks conducts these concerts on Friday-Sunday, November 2-4.
As part of The Florida Orchestra’s multi-year cultural exchange with Cuba, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (NSOC) offers an enticing mix of Cuban music with traditional symphonic favorites. Joining the orchestra is pianist “Nachito” Herrera in a tribute to the famed Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. The program also includes Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, López Marín’s Danzón “El Médico de Pianos,” López-Gavilán’s Guaguancó, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The concert will be conducted by NSOC Music Director Enrique Pérez Mesa and Cuban composer and conductor Guido López-Gavilán on Wednesday, November 7 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
The Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series continues with the dynamic duo of Karen Gomyo and Christian Poltéra performing Brahms’ dramatic and virtuosic Concerto for Violin and Cello on this program with Brahms’ delightfully bouyant Academic Festival Overture and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, overflowing with an insistent, driving and dramatic panorama of orchestral rhythms, colors and themes. Joshua Weilerstein conducts these concerts on Friday-Sunday, November 30 and December 1 and 2.
The orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Progress Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. For a free season brochure or to order tickets, visit www.floridaorchestra.org or call 727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286.