A brief history of the Florida Orchestra, turning 50 this season

Posted on: September 29, 2017

“The Florida Orchestra began 50 years ago with a mixture of nervousness and pride, dreams of artistic excellence and an accompanying surge for the arts on both sides of Tampa Bay,” writes Andrew Meacham in Wednesday’s (9/27) Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, FL). “The decades since have seen improvements… In recent years it has emerged in the black, with several new musicians and a music director [Michael Francis] who has lifted morale…. The anniversary season begins Oct. 6…. The forked roots of the Florida Orchestra start with two small community groups,” the St. Petersburg Symphony and Tampa Philharmonic. The groups merged in 1966 to become the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony; in 1984 the group was renamed the Florida Orchestra. “The orchestra hired Michael Pastreich as president in 2007…. Pastreich spearheaded a reduction in ticket prices. The orchestra expanded its concerts to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Queen, movie scores and video games…. Paid attendance increased by 34 percent over five years…. Free concerts at shopping malls, nursing homes and even the airport accelerated.” Nevertheless, says Francis, “Performance in the concert hall is the absolute core of what we do.”

Posted September 29, 2017