Celebrating 10 years of music director and maestro Michael Francis’ bold artistic leadership, The Florida Orchestra (TFO) announced the 2024-25 season, full of the world’s great masterpieces, stunning new discoveries and broad programming that reflects the rich cultural landscape of Tampa Bay and beyond. The 57th season is a culmination of what Francis and TFO do best: creative, thoughtful programs that foster a deeper, more personal connection to the music and mission of Florida’s largest professional orchestra.

To open the premier Hough Family Foundation Masterworks in October, Francis uses his inspiration from Tampa Bay’s Latin roots. The innovative, colorful program partners with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in unexpected ways, including a fantastic finish with Maurice Ravel’s Boléro.

The Masterworks series will emphasize great concertos of the Romantic Period, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with renowned soloist Olga Kern, Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, alongside epic masterpieces including Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

For the first time, TFO is going country in the Raymond James Pops series. It opens with Country Hits: Songs from Nashville, a tribute to icons such as Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks. In the special Pops concert Pretty Woman to Hunger Games, famed film composer James Newton Howard himself will conduct some of his most captivating scores.

The reenergized Morning Matinees series is back with a new lead conductor, TFO resident conductor Chelsea Gallo. Also new: Each morning concert will showcase one of TFO’s remarkable musicians as a soloist.

Season tickets for all subscription series are on sale now at https://floridaorchestra.org/.

“The new season is filled with incredible variety. We’re proud to work with soloists from the world’s great concert halls as we continue to create spectacular experiences with familiar favorites while introducing new discoveries,” said Francis, who is generously sponsored by the Hough family. “We’ve expanded our Masterworks series to 14 programs. Each one is carefully curated to tell a story and spark a great conversation. My absolute passion is to help each person connect to the music and, above all, to connect to themselves. Every concert should feel unique and meaningful to your life and your community.”

The Masterworks series reflects a decade of Francis’ influence. A centerpiece concert of the season pairs two of the most famous openings in music: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (Nov. 1-3) and Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra (theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey), one of the first works Francis ever conducted with TFO. This will be the first time TFO performs the Mahler arrangement of Beethoven’s iconic symphony, a bigger, bolder version of the original. Francis also will conduct Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 (May 9-10, 2025) — the great American symphony — which was part of his first opening night with TFO in 2015.

Francis is bringing back another creative success for the Masterworks series: ‘mystery pieces.’ Francis has personally chosen all 14 short works, which will enhance and connect to the program in a surprising way. None will be listed ahead of time.

“It’s amazing to me that we’ve reached my tenth season with The Florida Orchestra. Making music with these musicians has been a true privilege, and I’m proud of our work as a beacon of artistic excellence in Tampa Bay,” said Francis, who signed a contract extension through at least the 2029-30 season.

“This season makes a statement about the impact Michael Francis and TFO have made over the past decade,” said President and CEO Ignacio Barrón Viela. “Our audiences have come to expect not only a great performance but a special experience that stays with them long after they leave the concert hall. At The Florida Orchestra, we believe music is a catalyst for beauty, healing, joy and so much more. The Tampa Bay community is such a rich melting pot of cultures, and we are performing a wide variety of music that is accessible to all. Nobody delivers experiences at the highest level like Michael Francis with your Florida Orchestra, both in the concert hall and the community.”

Visit https://floridaorchestra.org/ for more information.

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