The Florida Orchestra (TFO) will welcome eight musicians to its first full season this month. All have won highly competitive blind auditions that attracted candidates from around the nation and the world for full-time positions in Florida’s largest professional orchestra, under the artistic leadership of music director Michael Francis.

Tenure track positions include Yefim Romanov, first assistant concertmaster; Natalie Yu, assistant principal second violin; Chi Lee, associate principal viola; Matthew Eeuwes, assistant principal viola; Sebastian Stefanovic, viola; Yoni Draiblate, cello; Ansel Norris, associate principal/utility trumpet; and Ben Hauser, second trumpet.

In addition, six musicians will join TFO this fall in one-year positions: Russell Hoffman, acting assistant principal oboe; Jacob Thonis, acting assistant principal bassoon; Valerie Ankeney, acting assistant principal/utility horn; Nicole Haywood, bassoon/contrabassoon; Jonas Benson, viola; and Troy Chang, cello.

The Florida Orchestra employs 68 full-time professional musicians who live, work and give back to the Tampa Bay community. For full bios on each of the talented new musicians, and the entire orchestra, visit

TFO will perform more than 100 concerts this season in venues throughout Tampa Bay, including a wide range of classical, popular and family-friendly music. Maestro Francis launched the season with TFO’s 55th Celebration benefit concert, featuring Itzhak Perlman on October 1 at the Mahaffey Theater. The following weekend, October 7-9, the Hough Family Foundation Masterworks series debuted with Carl Orff’s epic Carmina Burana, kicking off the classical series that ranges from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and much more. The Raymond James Pops series includes blockbusters such as Harry Potter vs Star Wars, Holiday Pops, and the Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road album. All tickets are on sale now at

The Florida Orchestra is recognized as Tampa Bay’s leading performing arts institution, the largest professional orchestra in Florida and one of the most vibrant and innovative orchestras in America. It celebrates its 55th season in 2022-23. Under the leadership of Francis, TFO performs series of classical, popular, and morning coffee concerts in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as free Pops in the Park concerts. The orchestra is dedicated to connecting to the community, both in-person and virtually, with family and youth concerts and other educational programs.

For tickets and information, visit The Florida Orchestra is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) — EIN: 59-1223691, CH#1830. To learn more about how you can support the power of music in building community, contact To donate now, visit

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