Yoni Draiblate, who was named The Florida Orchestra’s new principal cello. (Photo courtesy of The Florida Orchestra.)

For the first time in nearly 35 years, The Florida Orchestra has named a new principal cello. Yoni Draiblate won the highly competitive blind audition and will lead the cello section of the largest professional orchestra in Florida, under the artistic leadership of internationally acclaimed music director Michael Francis.

Draiblate has toured the United States, Europe and South America with orchestras and has appeared on prestigious stages such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Teatro Colón in Argentina, the Philharmonie Berlin and many more. He is one of eight new musicians TFO welcomes this season. The Florida Orchestra employs 71 full-time professional musicians and conductors.

“I am incredibly honored to fill this role in The Florida Orchestra. I’ve lived and performed all over the world, but my colleagues here have quickly made me feel at home,” Draiblate said. “I am lucky to be part of an orchestra that values the highest level of excellence, both onstage and in our community and schools.”

Draiblate is a former principal cellist of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel, former principal cellist of Symphony in C in New Jersey and former associate principal of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared as a guest principal cellist with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Before moving to Florida, he was a full-time member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. For more on Draiblate, visit https://floridaorchestra.org/musicians/yoni-draiblate/.

Draiblate succeeds James Connors, TFO’s esteemed principal cellist since 1988, who is preparing to retire at the end of this season in May 2023.

TFO will perform more than 100 concerts this season in venues throughout Tampa Bay, including a wide range of classical, popular, film, rock and family-friendly music. Next up is Maestro Francis continuing the Hough Family Foundation Masterworks series with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 on Friday through Sunday, December 2-4, featuring the world premiere of Michael Ippolito’s violin concerto, composed especially for concertmaster Jeffrey Multer. The Raymond James Pops series includes blockbusters such as Holiday Pops, Harry Potter vs Star Wars, and the Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road album. The orchestra’s 55th Celebration concert featuring legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman will be on March 11, 2023 at the Mahaffey Theater.

For tickets to the concerts, visit https://floridaorchestra.org/.

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