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Concert Weeks are Jam-Packed!

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

When newcomers attend the Symphony they often ask me, “How many weeks ago did you start rehearsing for the concert?” The answer usually elicits a look of astonishment, especially if the performance is on a Thursday: “We started on Tuesday morning!” A Masterworks concert is preceded by four or five rehearsals, all within a single week. The musicians’ schedules are … Read More

Jumping Off a Cliff – The First Time with a Masterpiece

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

Last week we ended the Jacksonville Symphony’s Masterworks series with three performances of Mahler’s soul-stirring Second Symphony. It was a thrilling way to end an ambitious season. Throughout the week’s rehearsals, I was inspired by just how much fun the musicians were having playing this great music: at his best Mahler seems to understand exactly what it means to be … Read More

Musical Chairs: Why Orchestras Sit the Way They Do

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

One of the questions I’m asked most often is why the string sections of the Jacksonville Symphony sometimes change where they sit between pieces in a concert. Loyal symphony goers will remember that when I arrived in Jacksonville, we adopted two new positions for the string instruments. Your previous music director, Fabio Mechetti, preferred the common arrangement of first violins, … Read More

An Exciting Season Awaits Symphony Fans

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

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 … Read More

A Crazy January!

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

There’s always one period in my season that ends up being slightly more travel and work than any sane individual should undertake, and this year it’s been January. In the weeks since the Jacksonville Symphony opened the year with Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony (about which I wrote last month), I’ve guest-conducted with the Asheville and Dallas symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra. … Read More

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

Courtney Lewis, Conducting ElectricityLeave a Comment

I’ve been in New York for the past week, auditioning singers for an opera and conducting at the Juilliard School. The city is gearing up for the holidays, with enticing displays appearing in the grand shop fronts of Fifth Avenue, and a sickly stream of canned musak beginning to percolate every public space. Thankfully our musical offerings at the Jacksonville … Read More