By Kelly Smith

The Florida Orchestra brings some of the great masterpieces to Tampa Bay in November, along with the fascinating stories behind the music, under the baton of Music Director Michael Francis.

Shining stars in Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony

Despite Mozart’s financial and other troubles, the most amazing thing happens in 1788: In a matter of just six to nine weeks, Mozart composes his three best symphonies, Nos. 39, 40 and 41. Even for Mozart, it’s a ridiculously short timeframe. The orchestra performs his greatest achievement, No. 41, nicknamed “Jupiter,” which shows off his true genius. It’s also his final symphony, composed at age 32.

This program also features 26-year-old violinist Benjamin Beilman, one of the fastest rising stars of his generation, performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

The orchestra performs Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony Friday to Sunday, November 4-6, with Michael Francis conducting. Part of the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series, with free Classical Kids tickets for kids and teens 5-18.

Dive into Songs of the Sea

Perfect for the Tampa Bay area, feel the ebb and flow of the sea with Debussy’s La Mer, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes and Elgar’s Sea Pictures. Then dive into The Work at Hand by Jake Heggie, based on deeply moving poetry by a woman battling cancer. It’s a special work that features mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and cellist Anne Martindale Williams, under the direction of Michael Francis. All three performed the orchestral debut of the piece in May 2015 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra performs Songs of the Sea: Britten, Elgar & Debussy Friday-Sunday, November 11-13. Also part of the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series, with free tickets for kids and teens.

Great American Pops: From Fiedler to Williams

This night of hits honors the great tradition of American pops, with music the great Arthur Fiedler made famous including composers Leroy Anderson, John Philip Sousa, George M. Cohan, Gershwin, and the master of modern film scoring, John Williams. Concerts are Friday-Sunday, November 18-20, part of the Raymond James Pops series, with guest conductor Bob Bernhardt.

The Florida Orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center in Tampa, Mahaffey in St. Petersburg and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Masterworks and Pops tickets are $15, $30 and $45. Buy at or 727-892-3337 and 1-800-662-7286.

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