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Chris Bassett’s Top Picks for the 2019-2020 Season

Musician Spotlight

With a list full of some of my utmost favorite works in the orchestral repertoire, and some lesser known, these selected concerts make a phenomenal subscription for the first-time concert goer, veteran subscriber, or anyone looking to spend their evening at the Symphony no matter how often you join us. You’ll find John Williams’ final score in the Harry Potter™ series, return appearances from some of our favorites like violinist Stefan … Read More

Symphony in 60 offers classical music, an hour at a time

Courtney Lewis

Symphony in 60 is one of my favorite Jacksonville Symphony concert series. It’s a simple idea: Happy hour at 5:30, an hour-long concert at 6:30, and then an opportunity to meet the musicians and conductor over a drink. This season we’re expanding the series from three concerts to six. It’s really exciting to see the many recent developments in our … Read More

Melissa Barrett’s Top Picks for the 2019-2020 Season

Musician Spotlight

The opening bars of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony are my favorite of all Beethoven’s symphonies. Also on this program will be selections from Smetana’s Má Vlast (The Bohemian River). When I married my husband Michael, our recessional music was the wedding scene from this movement, so it holds a very special place in my heart. Up is an uplifting and heartwarming movie for all ages. I chose … Read More

Beethoven front and center in Symphony season

Courtney Lewis

After a summer guest conducting in Aspen and Minnesota, I’m back in Jacksonville and it’s time to get ready for our upcoming season. This year is a series of celebrations, as the Jacksonville Symphony turns 70, Ludwig van Beethoven reaches an ever-youthful 250, and we perform thrilling concerts not just at home, but also at the Kennedy Center in Washington, … Read More

Finding inspiration in Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’

Courtney Lewis

This summer I’ve been writing about the music I love beyond the classical bubble. Since its release in April 2016, I’ve been mildly obsessed with one album: Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’. ‘Lemonade’ is a deeply personal testament describing Queen Bey’s discovery that her husband – the rapper Jay-Z – had been unfaithful. During its twelve songs we accompany Beyoncé on her journey … Read More

Finding inspiration in ‘A Love Supreme’

Courtney Lewis

I often like to ask classical musicians what they listen to in order to relax. The answer is rarely our own music; stepping outside the classical world allows our critical facilities to switch off, which is blessed relief. My after-work tastes are hip hop, R&B, house, pop and a relatively small amount of jazz. Over the past few weeks I’ve … Read More

Maestro’s musical taste shaped by dad

Courtney Lewis

I’m often asked about the music I listen to outside work. When I was announced as music director of the Jacksonville Symphony five years ago, there were plenty of embarrassing headlines such as “Conductor likes Britney and Beethoven.” People tend to think that there is something amusing or even faintly scandalous about a classical musician enjoying other music. We musicians … Read More

Film scores require a lot of ‘werk’

Deanna Tham

“Gesamtkunstwerk,” the term first coined by K. F. E. Trahndorff in 1827 and later taken up by Richard Wagner in 1849, is the word that comes to mind when our Jacksonville Symphony presents me with the opportunity to conduct the score to a film. The term is translated as “total work of art,” or “all-embracing art form” and strives to … Read More

Voice adds depth to symphony performances

Courtney Lewis

Strangely enough for an orchestra, we’ve heard a lot of the human voice recently at the Jacksonville Symphony. The Christmas season began with “Messiah,” and in January we welcomed a cast from around the country for Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.” Last weekend we performed Maurice Ravel’s sensuous ballet, “Daphnis et Chloé,” complete with an enormous chorus that sang no words, … Read More

Mozart’s Don Giovanni: Stagecraft meets musicianship

Richard A. Salkin

Later this month, the Jacksonville Symphony will present one of the most ambitious concerts of the season: Mozart’s magnificent Don Giovanni. The performances, part of the Florida Blue Masterworks Series, will be Friday and Sunday, January 25 and 27. They also form the centerpiece of our innovative Midwinter Mozart Festival. Operas normally need a more theatrical venue than the Jacoby … Read More