Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending a performance of the Sarasota Orchestra at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
I have been to many great shows at the Van Wezel and it never gets old to see the purple palace all lit up in the night sky as you make the trek over the walking bridges to get there. But I left with extra appreciation for not only this Sarasota staple but also for the amazingly talented musicians within the Sarasota Orchestra.
For the past 70 years, Sarasota Orchestra has been delighting audience members with thrilling concerts and events. Each season, they showcase over 125 performances from their 80-musician ensemble and are currently the longest running orchestra in Florida’s history. In addition to several educational initiatives they are actively involved with, Sarasota Orchestra also presents the Sarasota Music Festival each year. This internationally recognized teaching festival gathers pre-professional musicians from around the world.
Last night’s concert, Classical Romance, is part of the Masterworks Series, where distinguished guest conductors and soloists are showcased along with the orchestra. Classical Romance consisted of R. Strauss’s Don Juan, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, and Dvorak Symphony No. 6. As it was my first attendance at a Sarasota Orchestra event, I was not completely certain of what to expect. I will say that I left feeling enlightened and changed somehow, which is pretty much their tagline, so I guess my feelings were aptly placed. I so enjoyed the precision and mastery displayed by the conductor and marveled at the well-oiled machinery he had in front of him. From my perspective it appeared to be more of a puppeteer, delicately moving all 80 of his muses with a flick of a wrist. The music was so moving that at times you could hear a pin drop as the audience waited for the pianist to complete a gentle rift. And when she did, an audible sigh was heard. In all my concerts over these past decades, I am not sure I have experienced this display of emotion by concert goers. It was a beautiful evening, and one I hope to replicate.
With the 2019-20 Sarasota Orchestra season in full swing, consider attending an event as a possibility for family entertainment in these upcoming months. Dinner on the Gulf followed by an amazing event at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on gorgeous Sarasota Bay is a stellar evening by any standard. The Sarasota Orchestra Master Series features a variety of amazing shows with themes to suit everyone. From Bugs Bunny to Sounds of the Season, let Sarasota Orchestra immerse you in all the joy that the holidays and our special home of Sarasota provide us. For event and ticket pricing please visit their website here.
Photos courtesy of Sarasota Orchestra Facebook page.