Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

An Exciting Season Awaits Symphony Fans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

An Exciting Season Awaits Symphony Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: Courtney Lewis

This week, we announced the Jacksonville Symphony's 2017-18 season, and you may have read about the new five-year contract signed with our musicians earlier this month. We're increasing musicians' salaries to levels that match our peers, adding six full-time musicians to the orchestra, and increasing the orchestra's season from 35 to 38 weeks. Last season, we increased our classical weekends from 10 to 12, and next season we'll expand again to 13 with the addition of Fanfare, a single season-opening concert. It's a thrill to be working with an orchestra, staff and board that are committed to building the best symphony for you, right here in Jacksonville.

At the heart of the season you'll hear many beloved masterpieces. Something about writing a Fifth symphony inspired many composers to great heights, and we're featuring several such pinnacles: you can look forward to Fifths by Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Sibelius and Shostakovich. I'm especially excited about an evening of Brahms's Third Symphony followed by Bruckner's breath-taking Seventh. We'll perform Beethoven's "Eroica," Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, Barber's Adagio for Strings and a host of other linchpins of the repertoire.

I'm a strong believer in performing the music of today. It's how we stay relevant, and it's how we understand ourselves in the present. I'm amazed by how many younger audience members tell me they love the range of new music we're playing. Often it's their favorite piece on the program. We've scheduled our first co-commission, a cello concerto by American composer Lowell Liebermann for May 2018, and I'm looking forward to works by the Englishman Jonathan Harvey and the Brooklyn-based Timo Andres. There's a huge chunk of repertoire that is no longer new but that hasn't been heard yet in Jacksonville, and you won't want to miss our concerts with Jan[sz]cek's tone poem "Taras Bulba," Schoenberg's terrifying "Five Pieces for Orchestra" and Nielsen's irrepressible "Inextinguishable Symphony."

This season saw the return of opera with a semi-staged production of Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel." Next year, we're presenting a fully-staged production of Mozart's beautiful and terrifying tale of passion, lust and revenge, "Don Giovanni. …

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