By Kelly Smith

It’s hard to say what’s more popular at The Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concerts: conductor Stuart Malina, the music or the free coffee and doughnuts. Let’s just say it’s a winning combination that fills the house at the Mahaffey morning concerts almost every time. And that’s why the orchestra has expanded the series from eight to nine at the St. Petersburg Theater, to go along with four concerts at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. All at the same low prices. Highlights of the 2016/17 season include:

A Patriotic Salute (Thursday, October 27, Mahaffey): In election season, we vote for American music that transcends party lines, with works by John Williams, Copland, Gershwin and more. Stuart Malina conducts.

Gilbert & Sullivan (Wednesday, November 16 at Ruth Eckerd Hall; Thursday, November 17 at Mahaffey): Enduring gems from Gilbert and Sullivan classics like H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. Stuart Malina conducts.

Best of Ballet (Wednesday, December 14 at Ruth Eckerd Hall; Thursday, December 15 at Mahaffey): Some of the most beautiful music was composed for ballets, including selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Khachaturian’s Spartacus and Copland’s Rodeo. Stuart Malina conducts.

Coffee with Michael (Thursday, March 23, Mahaffey): A rare morning concert with charming Music Director Michael Francis, who will spin romantic tales and conduct selections from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

French Bonbons (Thursday, April 20, Mahaffey): A delicious lineup of works from French composers, including Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saëns’ Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila and Ravel’s gorgeous Pavane for a Dead Princess. Stuart Malina conducts.

Series subscriptions are on sale now. Single tickets are available Monday, August 8. Coffee Concerts tickets are $24, $29, $34, $42 at or 727-892-3337 and 800-662-7286.

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