Florida Orchestra opens season with fresh sense of optimism

Posted on: October 6, 2015

“For the first time in 20 years, the Florida Orchestra opens a season without debt,” writes Kurt Loft in Thursday’s (10/1) Tampa Tribune (Florida). “How important is this to the musical end of things? Very, says Michael Francis, who this weekend conducts works by Rachmaninoff and Copland in his debut as new music director…. Says Francis, ‘With financial freedom, you’re able to make more important artistic decisions.’ … A low point came in 2007, as the recession began to take hold.… Michael Pastreich, the orchestra’s president and CEO, arrived in late 2007 and refocused the organization’s strategy. Since then, the board has raised $45 million…. The endowment now stands at an all-time high of nearly $18 million, which allows the musicians to devote more time developing audiences through critical outreach programs that extend beyond the concert hall…. ‘I was thrilled to hear we’re in the black,’ Francis says about the new season…. ‘There’s a sense of optimism within the entire orchestra.’ The new financial security gives Francis more room to maneuver artistically…. He plans to take an eclectic and diverse approach to programming intended to build trust with audiences…. He can take more chances with the music.”

Posted October 6, 2015