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 downtown, especially as plans emerge for the symphony’s next-door neighbor, the Jacksonville Landing. We wanted to find a way to keep people downtown after work. With Symphony in 60, you can meet friends, replace the stress of traffic with an hour of inspiring music, and still make it home in time for dinner.

These concerts are deliberately much more relaxed than our other classical programs. We begin with an introduction to the music. I’ll give you a little history, introduce you to the composer, and give you a quick tour of the piece’s highlights, all with musical examples played with the symphony. You can also watch the musicians up close through live projections on a huge screen behind the stage. If you’ve ever thought about coming to the symphony but were nervous about what to wear and what to do, Symphony in 60 is for you. You can’t go wrong, and it only lasts an hour. It’s a really great way to introduce yourself to classical music.

This year we’ve invited three guest conductors to join me for some of classical music’s greatest hits. On Nov. 21, you can meet Thomas Wilkins, a fantastic musician who has conducted the Boston Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He’ll give you the inside scoop on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the most famous piece of symphonic music ever written. Later in the season we welcome back Nathan Aspinall and Matthew Halls for Rachmaninoff and Brahms, and I’ll be exploring Schumann’s First Symphony, Schubert’s Ninth, and Duke Ellington’s “Celebration,” written especially for the Jacksonville Symphony in 1975.

Why not do something different with your Thursday night, and join us for Symphony in 60? The whole Jacksonville Symphony is waiting to meet you!

By Courtney Lewis, Music Director of the Jacksonville Symphony