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

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

Don Giovanni remains timeless, centuries later

Courtney Lewis

Mozart described his masterpiece Don Giovanni as an opera buffa: a comedy. Yet the work bristles with the political issues of the day, see-sawing between farce and deep seriousness. The Don Juan myth first appeared in European literature in 1630, when Tirso de Molina published The Trickster of Seville, a tale of an irresistibly handsome aristocrat who spends his days … Read More

Holidays are the time for waltzes

Courtney Lewis

The air is a getting crisper this week, and as we finish off the Thanksgiving turkey and begin to think about December, I’m reminded of one of my favourite holiday traditions. Every New Year’s Eve and Day the Vienna Philharmonic performs a concert of waltzes and polkas in the beautiful Grosser Saal of the Musikverein. The New Year’s Day concert … Read More

Pictures at an Exhibition: About Victor Hartmann

Matthew Patterson

Victor Alexandrovitch Hartmann was born April 23rd, 1834, in St. Petersburg. Both his parents died before he was four years old, and he was brought up by an aunt, Luisa Ivanovna Gemilian, wife of a well-known St. Petersburg architect and a former lady-in-waiting to the tsarina. Through the influence of Mme. Gemilian, Hartmann was admitted at the age of twelve … Read More

Why is That Trombone So Small?

Christopher Bassett

When the Jacksonville Symphony plays music from the Classical and Early Romantic periods the trombone section often scales our instruments down to better blend with a smaller orchestra. As opposed to what we usually play – two large tenor trombones with valves and a large bass trombone with two valves – we use an alto trombone, a “straight,” or, valve-less … Read More

Where Will The Music Take You?

Robert Massey

At an early age, I discovered the transformative power of music. Growing up in a military household, we moved around quite often and, unfortunately, most of those transitions were very difficult. Starting a new life in a strange city every three years was fraught with anxiety. My anchor through all of this was music. I learned to play the trumpet … Read More

My Heros: Rattle, Abbado and Davis

Courtney Lewis

During our formative years, musicians are molded by many influences. Obviously our teachers hold enormous sway, taking on the role of musical parents by establishing the basics of instrumental technique while introducing repertoire at the right time. But like any artist we are often influenced just as much, if not more, by professionals, we may not know. The people we … Read More