Photo courtesy of Matt Dine. Violinist Sarah Shellman.

By Kurt Loft

If a thoroughly modern orchestra wants to make its mark beyond dusting off the busts of Beethoven and Brahms, it needs to perform thoroughly modern music to reflect our own time. In April, TFO tips its hat to the new with Grammy-nominated composer Anna Clyne, who makes her Tampa Bay premiere with The Seamstress, featuring TFO’s own Sarah Shellman on solo violin.

Clyne calls The Seamstress an ‘imaginary one-act ballet’ and describes her work as follows: “Alone on the stage, the seamstress is seated, unraveling threads from an antique cloth lay gently over her lap. Lost in her thoughts, her mind begins to meander and her imagination spirals into a series of five tales that range from love to despair, and that combine memory with fantasy.” She drew inspiration from the short poem, “A Coat,” by William Butler Yeats.

Composed in 2015, the 23-minute piece is for violin, orchestra and amplified electronics. It is part of a concert highlighting the influence of women, with guest conductor Gemma New leading TFO in Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Schumann’s Manfred Overture. Concerts are Friday to Sunday, April 12-14 in Tampa and St. Petersburg, with a Sunday matinee. Free tickets for kids and teens in advance, for this Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert.

Other upcoming TFO concerts include:

Ragtime, Blues and All That Jazz (Friday to Sunday, April 5-7): Fan favorite trumpeter Byron Stripling showcases classics from Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway and more. Jeff Tyzik conducts.

Taste of Vienna (Wednesday & Thursday, April 24-25): Savor the best of Vienna, with Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte Overture, Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture and Strauss Jr.’s Roses from the South Waltz. Daniel Black conducts this morning Coffee concert. Free coffee and doughnuts.

The Music of John Williams (Saturday, April 27, 2 & 8 pm): Featuring some of the most recognizable scores in cinematic history, including Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, Schindler’s List and ET. Daniel Black conducts in the Raymond James Pops series, with a Saturday matinee.

The Florida Orchestra performs regularly at the Straz Center in Tampa, Mahaffey in St. Petersburg and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The orchestra offers affordably priced tickets to a variety of concerts; prices vary. See or call 727-892-3337 and 800-662-7286.

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