ST. PETERSBURG – Residents of Tampa Bay and beyond can still listen to the Florida Orchestra together, even when they can’t sit in the same concert hall.
TFO will share live recordings of select Masterworks concerts for free on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 FM radio and streaming online at WSMR.org starting Thursday, March 26, thanks to TFO’s partnership with the station.
To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, TFO has canceled concerts through at least April 5, but live recordings of 13 full concerts will keep the music going Thursdays at 7 p.m. The broadcasts will kick off March 26 with Michael Francis, TFO music director, conducting this season’s opening night performance of Gershwin, Grieg, Ravel and more. For the first time, broadcasts will be available on-demand at WSMR.org for 45 days after the airdate.
Continuing through June 11, the broadcasts will be a mix of live recordings from this season and TFO’s archives. For at least one of the canceled concerts – Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with Jeffrey Multer, TFO concertmaster, which was scheduled for April 3-5 – TFO will offer archival recordings of all the works scheduled on that program, also featuring Multer as soloist/leader, on April 2.
Listeners will hear some of the most powerful moments from TFO’s Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series. This gift to the community comes in conjunction with WUSF Public Media and Classical WSMR radio. The broadcasts also are made possible by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Jay’s Fabric Center.
“This is the third year TFO is offering live recordings, but the sentiment is stronger than ever,” a press release announcing the series stated. “The orchestra hopes these recorded performances will provide comfort, joy and hope when the Tampa Bay community needs it most, even though TFO can’t perform live right now.”
The first broadcast on March 26 includes Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, Ravel’s Bolero, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and Mason Bates’ Mothership. Full concerts have been recorded live all season long at the Straz Center in Tampa, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
Following is a schedule of the Thursday evening broadcasts, most of them conducted by Maestro Francis. The schedule subject to change.
• March 26 – Opening Night: Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Mason Bates’ Mothership, Ravel’s Bolero.
• April 2 – Archive performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Jeffrey Multer, violin/leader, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, and Golijov’s Last Round.
• April 9 – Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony
• April 12 – Handel’s Messiah (special broadcast for Easter)
• April 16 – Winter Dreams: Tchaikovsky & Sibelius
• April 23 – Mozart & Tchaikovsky
• April 30 – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3
• May 7 – American Masters featuring Rascher Saxophone Quartet
• May 14 – Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3
• May 21 – Deep Field: A Cosmic Experience
• May 28 – Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
• June 4 – Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
• June 11 – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4
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. This is its 52nd season. TFO performs more than 130 concerts a season, with 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. For information, visit FloridaOrchestra.org.