A Season of Firsts

sym IMG_0467rev-cr fRecently, we announced the 2015/16 Jacksonville Symphony season. As the first season I’ve planned since taking the music directorship, I think it’s fair to say that there has been a certain degree of anticipation about what’s in store.
Let’s start with the series of concerts for which we’re best known: Florida Blue Masterworks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. I’m excited about playing music that our audience knows and loves, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Holst’s suite The Planets, and Debussy’s glistening tone poem La Mer. But we will also explore areas that haven’t featured in recent Jacksonville Symphony seasons. The heart and soul of our art is the classical period of the 18th century. We’ll be performing classical repertoire such as Haydn’s Symphony No. 90 and Mozart’s Great C minor Mass.
At the other end of musical history, we’ll be performing a lot more from the 20th and 21st centuries. I’m looking forward to Stravinsky’s biting wartime Symphony in Three Movements, and Thomas Adès’s 1997 masterpiece, Asyla, one movement of which “summons the druggy techno of a London nightclub,” to quote The New York Times.
We’re beginning to reach out to Jacksonville’s population in new ways. We’ve already launched a young professionals’ group, UpTempo, “for the cultural class of the next generation.” If you’re in your twenties or thirties, sign up for great concert packages and pop-up member-only parties in surprise locations.
Symphony in 60 is a new concert experience. Beginning at 6:00pm on Thursdays and lasting an hour, each concert will present a major masterpiece in a fresh, casual format. Audience members will be able to watch close-up HD projections of the orchestra on screens in Jacoby Hall, and join us onstage after the concert for a drink. If you work downtown, why not skip the traffic and enjoy the Jacksonville Symphony instead?
Also new this season is a Symphonic Night at the Movies series. Cinema comes to Jacoby Symphony Hall with uniquely exciting presentations of Pixar in Concert (a compilation of thirteen Pixar movies), Back to the Future and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, all with live orchestra accompaniment.
Many people have told me how much they’d love to hear the orchestra without having to drive at night. With that in mind, we’re launching a series of Signature Sunday matinée concerts . . . full-length Masterworks programs at 3:00 p.m.
November sees the launch of a new annual residence outside Jacoby Hall. This year we will spend a week in Clay County, during which orchestra ensembles will perform in local community centers, hospitals and schools. The whole orchestra will perform a morning concert for local schools and the residence will culminate in a public evening concert at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts.
It’s my hope that next season marks the beginning of a new era for the Jacksonville Symphony. We’ve chosen masterpieces old and new to challenge us as we play and inspire you as you listen. It’s an exhilarating season of firsts, and there has never been a better time to make your debut as an audience member.
Like the Symphony on Facebook at Facebook.com/JaxSymphony, follow us on Twitter @jaxsymphony and follow me @Courtneyconduct. UPCOMING – Courtney Lewis conducts the Jacksonville Symphony in the Florida Blue Masterworks season finale on May 14 and 15, featuring Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. For tickets and information, call (904) 354-5547 or log on to JaxSymphony.org.

Article written by Courtney Lewis, music director, Jacksonville Symphony

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Author: Arbus

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