Bjaland wrapping up long tenure at Sarasota Orchestra

Posted on: February 16, 2012

In Thursday’s (2/16) Bradenton Herald (Florida), Wade Tatangelo writes, “The Sarasota Orchestra, still known as the Florida West Coast Symphony, had never been at a more dramatic turning point. The beloved Paul Wolfe, the symphony’s leader for 35 years, had announced his retirement in 1994, planning to step down as he reached his seventh decade. So for three years orchestra enthusiasts wondered what the future held. On Nov. 22, 1997, Leif Bjaland’s made his maestro debut at an inaugural gala in the Sarasota Opera House. … The artistic director of the Sarasota Orchestra would elate concert-goers for the next 15 years with a smart, genre-hopping blend of classic and contemporary works. Bjaland’s final performances with the symphony start today at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton and conclude Sunday at the Van Wezel in Sarasota. … During his impressive tenure with the symphony, Bjaland conducted and commissioned numerous world and local premieres including those by composers David Carlson, Jan Bach, David Maslanka and New College of Florida graduate Silas Durocher. Bjaland’s many accomplishments also include conducting the first performance of the complete orchestral version of Maurice Ravel’s ‘Mirror,’ the first performance in Florida of Anton Bruckner’s Second Symphony as well as the U.S. premiere of Frank Martin’s ‘Symphony 1937.’ ”

Posted February 16, 2012