Following their trip to Washington, D.C. for SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, the Jacksonville Symphony has announced its season line up for 2020-2021. The 20/21 season will be Music Director Courtney Lewis’ sixth leading the Jacksonville Symphony.
Five seasons ago, with the arrival of Lewis, the Jacksonville Symphony set out to reimagine what a symphony orchestra could be through the music performed, programs offered, and ways in which the orchestra engaged with its community. As we enter the 20/21 season, the symphony is seeing the incredible results of five years of dedicated, hard work.
During the 20/21 season, the Jacksonville Symphony will perform more weeks of music than ever before with forty weeks of programming. With sixty full-time musicians, three conductors, one-hundred plus volunteer chorus members, and almost forty full time staff members, the orchestra is prepared to present the City of Jacksonville with a season fit for patrons of all musical tastes. An added twist? Pricing has decreased across almost all programming to increase accessibility to the amazing artistic product that Courtney Lewis and the orchestra produces.
To kick of 20/21, with a quite literal bang, Lewis and the Jacksonville Symphony will be joined by the internationally known percussionist Colin Currie. Usually tucked away behind the rest of the orchestra, there have been very few opportunities to showcase the diverse talent and instrumentation of a percussionist, but Colin Currie will do just that. Currie will perform on a wide array of percussive instruments, that one might say includes everything but the kitchen sink!
The Florida Blue Masterworks Series returns with an added concert, growing the series from twelve to thirteen performances in a season. Perhaps most exciting will be the return of opera to Jacoby Symphony Hall with Giacomo Puccini’s beautifully tragic La Bohéme. Similar to the nearly sold out Don Giovanni performed two seasons ago, the set for La Bohéme will be built on risers around the orchestra, framed by three, thirty-foot projection walls. It’s a retelling of a classic love story that Jacksonville will not want to miss.
Joining La Bohéme will be the equally massive undertaking of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. With a huge orchestra, chorus, and guest vocalists, Courtney Lewis will take the audience through this production telling the tale of the joys found in life. Additional classical favorites will be found in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Tchaikovsky’s fateful Fourth Symphony, Dvorak’s Symphony “From the New World,” and the familiar sounds of Beethoven and Mozart.
The Pops Series grows from eight to ten to weekends, from The Beatles to Sinatra and Fleetwood Mac, it’s a series fit for an audience ready to dance in the aisles. The aerialists and jugglers of Cirque de la Symphonie return to fly through Jacoby Symphony Hall, and the orchestra will honor the iconic female voices of all time in Bette, Babs and Beyond.
One of the newest additions to the symphony’s seasons are the cinematic marvel of Symphonic Night at the Movies. With a giant screen hanging above the stage, the orchestra plays soundtracks from movie favorites live to the picture. There is truly no movie-going experience to match. The Jacksonville Symphony will celebrate the conclusion of Hispanic Heritage month with Disney & Pixar’s new hit, Coco. Later in the season the original Toy Story, a film that spans generations, will be featured. Plus, the Star Wars and Harry Potter series continues with Return of the Jedi and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Already looking for somewhere to spend New Year’s Eve? The symphony will celebrate the end of 2020 with a concert featuring the music of The Rat Pack. The guest vocals of Nat Chandler, Sal Viviano and Eric Jordan Young will embrace the spirit of Sammy, Frank and Dean in a concert that celebrates the trio’s era defining music.
If you’re dying to put on that gown or tux that’s sitting in the closet, the symphony’s annual Gala is the place to be. Featuring the talents of high-profile artists, this year the orchestra welcomes the rockstar panache of pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The concert will celebrate jazz with Ravel and Gershwin in a showstopping performance fit for any audience member. The party continues into the evening with an exclusive dinner and auction with Courtney Lewis and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
There are so many musical adventures to look forward to, and the orchestra members and staff are excited to welcome you back to Jacoby Symphony Hall, Jacksonville. See you in September!