Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Awesome Year Ahead for Arts Scene

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Awesome Year Ahead for Arts Scene

Article excerpt

Things could get loud at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in 1999.

A new artistic leader will be named to direct the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and virtual storms of classical music will blow through the Times-Union Center with the installation of a 6,653-pipe pneumatic organ in the Jacoby Symphony Hall.

It will be a high-impact year for the arts community in Jacksonville with other major developments ranging from a Phantom of the Opera run that is likely to shatter box-office records to the long-awaited renaissance at State and Davis streets with the return of the Ritz Theatre.

At the Times-Union Center's Jim and Jan Moran Theater, 24 performances of The Phantom of the Opera will be presented by the FCCJ Artist Series March 3-21. Special structural reinforcements will be added to the theater to accommodate the giant chandelier and other heavy sets for this event.

Another newcomer to the Times-Union Center will be the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, which plans to move from the Southside to the downtown hall in May 1999. Philanthropist Ira Koger is buying the old museum.

Over in Riverside, a 20-piece exhibition of bronze sculpture by the great Frenchman Auguste Rodin will draw crowds to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens July 7 through Sept. 19.

Across the river, the Museum of Science and History will start another round of renovations, and out on St. Johns Bluff Road, construction will begin on a $20 million-plus fine arts building at the University of North Florida.

Gary Good, president of the Jacksonville Symphony, said the new music director could have impact on the entire cultural scene.

"We all hope that, just as Roger [Nierenberg, former music director] did in so many ways, the next music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra will not only lead the orchestra but the community as a whole to a higher cultural awareness and success," Good said.

The new music director will be named in late spring, Good said. There are no front-runners among the seven candidates who are performing as guest conductors this season. …

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