Maestro Michael Francis, music director at The Florida Orchestra.

The Florida Orchestra (TFO) will celebrate the unique musical language of America in its new 2023-24 season this fall. Inspired by the 100th anniversary of Gershwin’s groundbreaking Rhapsody in Blue, music director Michael Francis is featuring a wide range of American composers from Aaron Copland to Wynton Marsalis alongside global masterpieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Dvorak and more.

In September, he launches the premier Hough Family Foundation Masterworks series with a bang: Holst’s The Planets paired with the thrilling Percussion Collective. In the Raymond James Pops series, the circus meets the symphony in Cirque Dances with Troupe Vertigo, in addition to Twist & Shout, a tribute to 60 years of The Beatles in America; a supersonic Sci-Fi Spectacular of space-themed movies and TV music; and the very merry tradition of Holiday Pops.

“This season, we’ll take audiences on a journey across America’s musical landscape as we explore our musical roots and where we are today. Alongside the story of American music, we will delight our Tampa Bay community with beloved classics from around the world,” said Francis. “New this season will be secret ‘mystery pieces’ — moments of discovery and fun that won’t be listed in the program. We remain passionate about reflecting the different cultures that make up Tampa Bay and beyond.”

At the heart of TFO’s 56th season, Maestro Francis will conduct featured soloist Stewart Goodyear in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (February 17-18, 2024). This masterpiece combined jazz and classical to change music forever when it premiered 100 years ago in 1924.

The concert will spotlight works by three more American composers: Marsalis’ Herald, Holler & Hallelujah; Mason Bates’ Alternative Energy; and Leonard Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from On the Town.

For the first time ever, all 13 Hough Family Foundation Masterworks concerts will include a surprise, unlisted ‘mystery piece’ personally chosen by Francis.

This October brings another important American masterpiece, Copland’s Appalachian Spring (Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22), showcasing the beauty of the distinctly American sound. The program also features Grammy-nominated baritone Jubilant Sykes performing American spirituals that highlight our African American heritage.

For 2024, more big moments in TFO’s core classical series include Dvorak’s New World Symphony (April 12-14), Beethoven’s heroic Eroica Symphony (April 5-7, 2024), Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (January 19-20) and Elgar’s Enigma Variations (May 17-19). The series wraps up with Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” (May 25-26), which features the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.

For more information and season tickets for all series, visit

Previous articleFish This! Fishing Report; May 2023
Next articleGet The Dirt: UF/IFAS Helps Identify And Avoid Invasive Plants