PRESS RELEASE - The Florida Orchestra

PRESS RELEASE - The Florida Orchestra

The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 1 NEWS RELEASE March 15, 2017 Kelly Smith, Public Relations Manager, The Florida Orchestra, [email protected]

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The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 1

NEWS RELEASE March 15, 2017

Kelly Smith, Public Relations Manager, The Florida Orchestra, [email protected]; 727.362.5448

The Florida Orchestra celebrates 50 years with 2017-18 season       

Orchestra launches two new weekend matinee series at Mahaffey TFO commissions work from award-winning composer Michael Ippolito Former Music Director Jahja Ling returns to conduct Masterworks concert Ruth Eckerd Hall Coffee series expands Carmina Burana opens Masterworks series Music of Star Trek & Star Wars headlines Pops series Rock concerts feature music of Prince, Pink Floyd

** Click for separate releases on Masterworks, Pops and Coffee series ** For photos of the orchestra, conductors and guest artsts: ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Florida Orchestra celebrates its milestone 50th season with a blockbuster lineup of concerts ranging from Carmina Burana to the Music of Star Trek & Star Wars under the leadership of Music Director Michael Francis. The 2017-18 season debuts in October and reflects TFO’s deep roots in Tampa Bay while underscoring its bold future, with the debut of two weekend matinee series at the Mahaffey Theater, the world premiere of a major work commissioned by the orchestra, and expansion of its popular Coffee series at Ruth Eckerd Hall. “The Florida Orchestra is a jewel in the crown of Tampa Bay,” said Maestro Michael Francis, who has signed on to lead TFO through the 2020-21 season. “Our 50th anniversary is a chance for us to celebrate our rich and successful past by performing favorite masterpieces from throughout the years. We will also look to our future with vibrant new works, including a very special anniversary commission by exciting young composer Michael Ippolito, who will capture the spirit of Florida to honor The Florida Orchestra. At the heart of our past and future is the extraordinary talent of The Florida Orchestra musicians, whom we will showcase in a variety of ways all season long. “Outside the concert halls, we will continue to grow our community programs, which have been so warmly received by everyone. We want to touch even more people this season through the power of music.”

The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 2

Francis leads his third season brimming with special moments to celebrate the orchestra’s 50th anniversary of bridging the bay with music -- which fittingly started more than five decades ago with an agreement signed on a boat in the middle of Tampa Bay in a merger of the Tampa Philharmonic and the St. Petersburg Symphony. The Florida Orchestra still is the only performing arts organization that unites the bay area, with performances in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. New matinee series for Masterworks, Pops As The Florida Orchestra continues to evolve, it will launch two new matinee series at the Mahaffey Theater that will be more convenient for families and patrons who prefer not to drive at night. A fiveconcert Raymond James Pops Matinee subscription series will debut on Saturday afternoons, featuring family-friendly concerts such as Holiday Pops and the Music of Star Trek & Star Wars. A five-concert Tampa Bay Times Masterworks Matinee subscription series, with free tickets for kids and teens, will be performed on Sunday afternoons. “One of The Florida Orchestra’s strengths is our ability to understand our patrons’ changing needs and adapt,” said Thomas H. Farquhar, TFO’s board chairman. “These new matinee series offer more flexibility for all patrons. We’re thrilled to present them at the beautiful Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg, which has become a great arts destination. ” Both series will be at 2 pm at the Mahaffey Theater, where TFO’s attendance has grown 42 percent since 2011. A premier performing arts venue in Tampa Bay, the Mahaffey is installing a new stage shell over the summer that will better direct sound into the hall, making the acoustics better than ever. The new engineered shell will be in place for the start of the orchestra’s 2017-18 season in October. The Masterworks Matinee series concerts are Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, Jahja Ling Conducts Beethoven, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26. The Pops Matinee series concerts are Marvin Hamlisch & More, Holiday Pops, Rodgers & Hammerstein , Music of Star Trek & Star Wars and R&B Legends with Michael Lynche.

New commission honors 50th season The orchestra has commissioned award-winning composer Michael Ippolito to write a large-scale work specifically to honor TFO’s anniversary. The sought-after young composer was born and raised in Tampa. “While I always knew that I had a deep connection to the place where I was born, it was not until I moved away for college and my professional career that I truly appreciated what is special about Florida and how much it has influenced me,” Ippolito says in an artist statement about the work. “So it is a particularly exciting prospect for me to compose a large-scale work inspired by Florida for the 50th anniversary of the orchestra I heard growing up, The Florida Orchestra.” TFO will perform the world premiere of the work, as yet untitled, on Feb. 23-25, 2018, conducted by Michael Francis. Ippolito is quickly making a name for himself. His music has been performed by leading musicians around the world and has been conducted by the likes of Edo de Waart and Marin Alsop in performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and more.

The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 3 Jahja Ling returns One of the big moments of the 50th anniversary season will be the return of former Music Director Jahja Ling, who will conduct Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 -- performed by his wife, Jessie Chang -- and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, on Jan. 6 & 7, 2018. Ling conducted the same Sibelius symphony in 1987 for TFO’s 20th anniversary, a pivotal performance that led to his hiring as music director, a position he held from 1988 to 2002. He now is in his 13th and final season as music director of the San Diego Symphony.

Masterworks highlights: Carmina Burana, world-class guest artists Music Director Michael Francis is going all out to celebrate TFO’s 50th anniversary in the premier Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series. The season kicks off with the powerful Carmina Burana, featuring the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, on Oct. 6-8, and embraces old favorites as well as striking new pieces. Season highlights include Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet paired with Bernstein’s West Side Story, Verdi’s massive Requiem, Beethoven’s joyful Pastoral Symphony, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and more. The 2017-18 season will bring a stellar lineup of guest artists to Tampa Bay stages. A high point will be world-class violinist and Bradenton resident James Ehnes performing a violin concerto written for him by James Newton Howard, an award-winning film composer known for The Hunger Games, Pretty Woman, The Dark Knight and more. Other soloists include enthralling French Canadian pianist Alain Lefevre on his specialty, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4, in his TFO debut; one of the greatest cellists in the world Lynn Harrell on Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2; the innovative Håkan Hardenberger, who performs a trumpet concerto written for him by HK Gruber, in his first performance with TFO; and the TFO debut of Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan on Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Maestro Francis will conduct nine of 14 Masterworks programs, along with one Pops (Music of Star Trek & Star Wars) and one Coffee concert (Best of British).

Pops highlights: Music of Star Trek & Star Wars, Rodgers & Hammerstein The orchestra’s nine-concert Raymond James Pops series, led by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, features one of TFO’s biggest Pops shows yet: the Music of Star Trek & Star Wars. This intergalactic battle pits Trekkies against The Force with music from both mega franchises. The season also includes favorites from Rodgers and Hammerstein, a tribute to singular sensation Marvin Hamlisch, R&B Legends with American Idol star and St. Petersburg native Michael Lynche, Broadway hits, fabulous ‘40s standards with swing dancers, and Latin classics with The Mambo Kings. This year, the essential Holiday Pops has five concerts, including two matinees.

Popular Coffee series grow again The Florida Orchestra’s popular Coffee concert series just keep growing. For the 2017-18 season, TFO will expand the series at Ruth Eckerd Hall from four to five Wednesdays. This comes on the heels of expanding the Coffee series at the Mahaffey Theater from eight to nine concerts in the 2016-17 season. Led by Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina, series highlights include some of the most dazzling and demanding Orchestra Showpieces, favorites from the stage, a program that’s all Beethoven, homegrown music from Classical America, and festive Sounds of Celebration to ring in TFO’s 50th season. All concerts are served up with complimentary coffee and doughnuts in a casual setting.

Two special rock concerts Save the date! Next season The Florida Orchestra offers two high-caliber rock concerts: The Music of Prince (Feb. 2) and The Music of Pink Floyd (May 11), both produced by Brent Havens. These special

The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 4 concerts will be performed at the Mahaffey Theater in place of TFO’s Rock subscription series. Individual concert tickets go on sale in August.

TFO milestones: Long ago on a boat in Tampa Bay … The 2017-18 season is both The Florida Orchestra’s 50 season and the 50th year since its incorporation. Note that the first concert was actually performed in November 1968. A few early milestones:  Nov. 23, 1966: The St. Petersburg Symphony and the Tampa Philharmonic signed an “Intent of Merger” on a boat in the middle of Tampa Bay. “There was pride for the entire Tampa Bay area, not one city over another,” according to the then St. Petersburg Times.  Nov. 2, 1967: Certificate of Incorporation paperwork is filed with the state of Florida, formally creating the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony.  1984: Name officially changed to The Florida Orchestra.

Same low ticket prices since 2011 In 2011, The Florida Orchestra made a bold move to make sure live symphonic music would be accessible to all. It lowered ticket prices for Masterworks and Pops series concerts, simplified series packaging and diversified programming. With a continued price freeze, the orchestra will offer the same affordable prices as last season: Masterworks and Pops series tickets, including the new matinee series, are $15, $30 and $45 each; Coffee tickets are $24 to $42 each. Venue facility fees apply to all purchases. Some restrictions apply.

Free Classical Kids & Teens tickets Kids and teens ages 5-18 get in free to all Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concerts. At least one adult ticket purchase required, with a maximum of 10 free per order. Only available through the TFO Ticket Center.

Subscriptions on sale now For information on the 2017-18 season, call the TFO Ticket Center at 727.892.3337 or 800.662.7286 Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm, or Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Single tickets will go on sale in August. See for more information and to purchase subscriptions online, a new feature available this season.

Masterworks & Pops subscriptions Premium fixed packages are offered for Masterworks and Pops subscriptions, and feature a variety of benefits including priority seating, single ticket discounts and free flexible ticket exchanges. Subscription packages with benefits are also available for the new Matinee series. Subscribers to the Coffee series also receive 20% off the regular ticket price.

Compose Your Own This flexible and affordable series allows customers to mix and match Masterworks and Pops concerts for just $25 per ticket. A minimum of three concerts is required and good seats are made available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fixed package benefits do not apply.

In harmony with the community During the past two seasons with Music Director Michael Francis, TFO has expanded its reach into the community, making good on its mission to bring live music to all. Nearly half of the 175,000 people who see the orchestra each season do so for free. For the 2017-18 season, the orchestra will return to Coachman Park in Clearwater for the first time in about a decade for a free Pops in the Park concert. The appearance will make it a full weekend of free parks concerts in October, with Vinoy Park in St.

The Florida Orchestra 2017-18 Season - Page 5 Petersburg (which attracts more than 20,000 people) and River Tower Park in Tampa. The orchestra will announce a full schedule of community and education programs over the summer and into the fall.

Family Concerts TFO musicians perform chamber ensemble concerts combined with interactive storytime at various bay area venues, perfect for children in pre-K through second grade and their families. Included are art activities and the Instrument Petting Zoo, for kids to try out instruments. Admission is pay what you can. A schedule will be released in the fall.

Pre-concert Conversations One of Music Director Michael Francis’ priorities is to help audiences listen deeper to the music. Preconcert Conversations start one hour before every Masterworks and Coffee concert and share enlightening stories about the composers’ lives and their music, often using musical excerpts. These interesting, 30-minute discussions feature TFO musicians and guest artists, and are included with the price of admission.

Listen local The Florida Orchestra primarily plays in three Tampa Bay area venues: Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. NOTE: Complete biographies related to TFO concerts are available upon request. All programs, halls, dates and artists are subject to change.

About The Florida Orchestra Click for more on Music Director Michael Francis The Florida Orchestra is recognized as Tampa Bay’s leading performing arts institution, the largest professional symphony orchestra in Florida, and one of the most vibrant and innovative orchestras in America. Under the leadership of Music Director Michael Francis, it performs series of classical, popular, and morning coffee concerts in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as free Pops in the Park concerts. Dedicated to bringing music to all people, connecting to the community is a priority, with pre-concert talks, family and youth concerts and other educational activities. Kids and teens get in free to classical Masterworks concerts with Classical Kids tickets. To subscribe or buy tickets: 727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286;