The Florida Orchestra Draws Top Talent To Tampa Bay

By Kelly Smith

The Florida Orchestra (TFO) is known for bringing world-renowned artists to bay area stages. January concerts do just that, as well as feature one of TFO’s own rising stars.

Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony (Saturday and Sunday, January 7 & 8): Michael Francis and TFO pull out all the stops for Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3, “Organ Symphony,” on a program that features Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich on Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole.

Bravo Broadway (Friday-Sunday, January 13-15) It’s the best of Broadway’s big shows, with enduring music from Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Wicked and more.
And it’s all brought to you by Broadway stars — and husband and wife team — Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard on vocals. Another bonus: Tony Award winner Stuart Malina conducts.

Brahms, Mozart & Mendelssohn (Saturday and Sunday, January 21-22): Principal Oboe John Upton, who joined TFO in 2015, takes the stage as soloist in Mozart’s lively Oboe Concerto. Also on the program is Mendelssohn’s jubilant Symphony No. 4, “Italian,” and Brahms’ lovely Variations on a Theme by Haydn, though turns out the original works probably were not by Haydn after all. TFO Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina conducts. Part of the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series.

New Series! Woodson Chamber Concerts: January also kicks off TFO’s new series of four Sunday afternoon chamber concerts at the intimate Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg. The first one is “American Inspirations,” featuring Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet, at 3 p.m. on January 22. More follow on February 26, March 26 and April 23. Admission is pay what you can at the door.

The Florida Orchestra: Masterworks and Pops tickets are $15, $30 and $45 at floridaorchestra.org or 727-892-3337 and 800-662-7286. The orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center in Tampa, Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.