The Jacksonville Symphony ended its 2021/22 season on June 11, 2022, with a grand finale of Beethoven’s Ninth: Ode to Joy. The concert, conducted by Music Director Courtney Lewis, featured a quartet of star vocalists, the Symphony Chorus, and the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s Jacksonville Symphony commission, Trances. With the first performance of the symphony’s 2022/23 season starting in September, many of the orchestra’s musicians packed their suitcases and embarked on rejuvenating adventures that fuel their passions for music and travel over the summer.
The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra (JSYO) has delighted the community with another spectacular season. With more than 350 talented musicians from all over Northeast Florida, the JSYO consists of six levels of ensembles, two full symphonies, and four levels of string ensembles that are all differentiated through their repertoire and level of expertise. Each concert in the season is designed so the various ensembles perform pieces that are both rewarding and challenging.
For more than 70 years, Jacksonville locals have flocked to the city’s one and only Performing Arts Center, located right on the edge of the St. Johns River in the heart of downtown, to experience world-class concerts performed by the Jacksonville Symphony. Whether your musical palate prefers the sounds of Beethoven and Brahms or perhaps the violin section rocking along to the music of Queen, the Jacksonville Symphony has something for everyone.
In August, I travelled to New York City with our CEO and artistic administrator on an especially exciting mission: we were headed to the Steinway factory to choose a new concert grand piano for Jacoby Symphony Hall. While good pianos in our homes can last for generations, the sheer volume of use on concert instruments means they usually need to be replaced every twenty years, and our existing piano was at the end of its distinguished career. With a season full of Mozart piano concertos on the horizon, we needed to get something new quickly.
As the weather starts to cool and the festive decorations come out, the joyous sounds of the holidays begin to waft through the air, much like the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The light of menorahs and string lights twinkle throughout our office buildings, homes, and windows. The scarves and sweaters are removed from the depths of our Floridian closets, and we eagerly look forward to traditions of baking cookies or singing carols. Yet, regardless of the holiday traditions or activities we attentively adhere to, there is one common theme that ties us all together: music.
Symphony in 60 is one of my favorite Jacksonville Symphony concert series. It’s a simple idea: Happy hour at 5:30, an hour-long concert at 6:30, and then an opportunity to meet the musicians and conductor over a drink. This season we’re expanding the series from three concerts to five!