Arts & Culture

Sarasota Orchestra announces new action-packed season

The Sarasota Orchestra announced its 2009-10 season last week. The season will feature more video components and images to compliment an array of dynamic music. The season begins Sept. 12 with Masterworks, Journeys to Genius, Great Escapes, Chamber Music and the Pixel Pops series. Highlights include a “Seeing Music” series woven throughout the Masterworks program with special performances from guest artists.

Next season’s Pixel Pops series, which synchronizes the silver screen with orchestra selections, features programs highlighting classic films — Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies in January, Norman Rockwell — Ellis Island: The Dream of America in March 2010 and a Charlie Chaplin film — “City Lights” in April 2010.

Journeys to Genius programs, which explores the backgrounds of famous composers, includes an encore presentation of this season’s sold-out “Beethoven: The Angry Revolutionary” and a feature on Mozart.

Artistic director Leif Bjaland, who will mark his 13th season with the orchestra next season, said the programs will give audiences a new perspective on the world’s greatest composers.

“All of the composers we will be featuring this season have one thing in common: they each aspired to reflect and reveal the world as they understood and experienced it,” he said in a rpress release. “Not only did they paint a portrait of human emotion, but they also expressed what it was like to live at a particular point in time. Whether it is Beethoven in 1808 on a trip to the country, Mussorgsky viewing an art exhibition in 1874, or Stravinsky evoking primitive Russia in 1913, music is an aural canvas that paints pictures in the imagination.”

Sarasota Orchestra 2009-2010 season highlights:


Oct. 22-25: Cellist Zuill Bailey performs Elgar’s “Cello Concerto” at Seeing Music at Exhibition.

Dec. 4-6: Cliburn medallist, pianist Joyce Yang returns to perform Rachmaninoff’s “Third Piano Concerto” at Seeing Music in Fantasy.

Jan. 8-10, 2010: Sarasota Orchestra Concertmaster Daniel Jordan performs Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” at “Seeing Music on Tour.” Dvorák’s “Slavonic Dances” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” with visual images of this eternal city projected on the big screen.

Jan. 29-31: At “Seeing Music in Nature,” Maestro Leif Bjaland leads the orchestra in the works of two of history’s greatest composers: Beethoven and Stravinsky. They’ll perform Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony (No. 6)” and Stravinksy’s “Rite of Spring.”

Feb. 19-21: Emerging violist Elena Urioste joins the orchestra for “Seeing Music in Youth” to perform Barber’s “Violin Concerto.”

March 4-7: At “Seeing Music through Life” celebrated pianist Andreas Haefliger performs Brahms’ Piano “Concerto No. 1”.

March 25-28: “Seeing Music through Myth” features the Key Chorale and the orchestra.

Series prices for Masterworks start at $135. Single tickets, available in September start at $29.

Pixel Pops

Jan. 23, 2010: “Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies.” Legendary film moments from “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “State Fair,” “The King and I,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music” will be projected in high-definition onto the big screen. In perfect synchronization with the clips, the orchestra performs these “show-stopping” masterpieces of American musical theater.

March 19, 2010: “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.” This program celebrates the American dream through the experience of Ellis Island and the art of Norman Rockwell. The orchestra performs Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.” The concert features vintage photos from the Ellis Island archives with live actors reciting short monologues from the journals of seven immigrants who came through Ellis Island. The other half of the concert features Florida-composer Stella Sung’s “Rockwell Reflections” while nostalgic Rockwell paintings are projected on the big screen.

April 16, 2010: “City Lights.” The concert hall transforms into a movie theater as Charlie Chaplin’s 87-minute silent film “City Lights” is projected on the big screen while the orchestra performs the movie’s soundtrack live.

Pixel Pops series subscription prices start at $75. Single tickets, available in September, start at $29.

Journeys to Genius

Sept. 12: “Portraits in Passion.” Five Sarasota Orchestra musicians are highlighted as their musical paths are shown in short video presentations prior to solo performances that demonstrate their brilliance. Live video projection of the soloists makes this concert a larger-than-life experience.

Oct. 10: “Mozart: Touched by the Gods.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last three symphonies were written in a miraculous blaze of inspiration during the summer of 1788. They formed a dazzling summation of Mozart’s inner soul and presented a remarkable window into the future. In a multi-media presentation, Leif Bjaland’s narration documents Mozart’s journey to genius, culminating in a performance of Mozart’s final symphony.

April 24, 2010: “Beethoven: The Angry Revolutionary.” Following a sold-out performance last season, Beethoven: The Angry Revolutionary returns for an encore presentation. Facing the loss of his hearing and surrounded by the chaos of revolution and war across Europe, Beethoven composed one of the most triumphant (and familiar) pieces of music of all time. Hear and see the story of Beethoven’s personal journey that culminates in his remarkable Fifth Symphony.

Series prices for Journeys to Genius start at $60. Single tickets, available in September, start at $25.

Great Escapes

Nov. 18-21: “Musical Postcards,” conducted by Dirk Meyer

Dec. 16-19: “All That Glitters,” conducted by Leif Bjaland

Feb. 3-6, 2010: “I’ll See Be Seeing You,” conducted by Dirk Meyer

March 10-13, 2010: “The Green, Green Grass of Home,” conducted by Andrew Lane

April 7-10, 2010: “Mona Lisa,” conducted by Dirk Meyer

May 5-8, 2010: “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” conducted by Dirk Meyer

Series subscription prices for Great Escapes start at $157. Single tickets, available in September, start at $29.

Chamber Music

Sept. 17: “From the Start” — All four resident ensembles are featured in a kick-off festival of the chamber music season.

Oct. 15: “With Quartets” – Two great classics by two of the most revered composers: Mozart and Brahms

Nov. 12: “In Monuments” – Harpist Cheryl Losey joins the Sarasota Wind Quintet

Dec. 10: “In Moonlight” – Dirk Meyer, conductor. Literally translated as “A Little Night Music,” the chamber orchestra work Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one of Mozart’s most popular compositions.

Jan. 14, 2010: “Everywhere” – Dirk Meyer, conductor - This recital featuring chamber orchestra takes you from Canada to London to America.

Feb. 25, 2010: “In Forests and Meadows” – Dirk Meyer, conductor - The Czech Suite calls on a full chamber orchestra to capture the forests of Dvorák’s homeland.

May 13, 2010: “From My Life” – The Sarasota String Quartet finishes the chamber music season with the emotional Voces Intimae and the semi-autobiographical From My Life.

A three-concert Chamber Orchestra series starts at $60 and the “All 7 Concerts” package starts at $120. Single tickets, available in September, start at $24.

Subscription renewals are now underway. New subscription orders will be processed throughout the summer. To request a brochure, contact the Orchestra at (941) 953-4252 or visit the Web site at