Festival Concerts

Music Unbound

This summer, the 60th Anniversary Festival breaks musical boundaries, drawing from sounds of jazz and bluegrass and showcasing performers skilled in improvisation.

New delights, fresh insights, and a bounty of noteworthy classics.

This is a musical journey unlike any you’ve taken before.

    • Arnaud Sussmann, SMF Violin Faculty Artist
      NEW BEGINNINGS

      60th Anniversary Concert

      Sunday, June 2 | 4:00 pm | Holley Hall

      Program

      • COUPERIN Le Rossignol en Amour
      • MARTINŮ Flute Sonata
      • JANE ANTONIA CORNISH Portrait
      • ARENSKY Piano Trio No. 1

      About

      The 60th Anniversary Festival begins with a program that unites the past, present, and future. With Music Director Jeffrey Kahane on harpsichord, SMF alum Marianne Gedigian shimmers in a work from the archives—Francois Couperin’s elegant Le Rossignol en amour (The Nightingale in Love). Bohuslav Martinů’s mid-20th-century Sonata, written on Cape Cod, offers a thought-provoking contrast with its jazz infused rhythms. Festival alum and gifted improviser Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir steps into the spotlight with Jane Antonia Cornish’s enthralling Portrait for solo cello, written in 2015 yet imbued with a sense of timeless wonder. Arensky’s gorgeous Piano Trio No. 1, a quintessential example of glorious Romanticism, anchors this anniversary celebration.
    • Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, SMF Cello Faculty Artist
      ARTIST SHOWCASE

      Two, Three, Four

      Thursday, June 6 | 4:30 pm | Holley Hall

      Program

      • FRANÇAIX Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano
      • SCHULHOFF Duo for Violin and Cello
      • RAVEL Violin Sonata No. 2
      • BACEWICZ String Quartet No. 6

      About

      Combine these 20th-century works for two, three, and four musicians, and the result is an intriguing concert that expands horizons. Written in 1994, Jean Françaix’s lighthearted Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano is charming and witty. Folk and classical idioms intertwine in Erwin Schulhoff’s 1925 Duo for Violin and Cello, while Maurice Ravel’s revolutionary encounter with jazz reverberates throughout his electrifying second Sonata for Violin and Piano. The Borromeo String Quartet, heralded for their “edge-of-the-seat performances” (Boston Globe), takes on the intelligent intensity of the String Quartet No. 6 by Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz.
    • Borromeo String Quartet, SMF 2024 Guest Artists
      FESTIVAL FRIDAYS

      Bach and Beyond

      Friday, June 7 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • JEFF SCOTT (composer/arranger) Movements from Passion for Bach and Coltrane
      • J.S. BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
      • J.S. BACH (arr. NIcholas Kitchen) Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Minor/D-sharp Minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier
      • MOZART String Quintet No. 4

      About

      Festival faculty, fellows, and the Borromeo String Quartet join forces for music separated by time yet linked by raw emotion, startling innovation, and inspiring creativity. Festival faculty Jeff Scott’s Passion for Bach and Coltrane proceeds from the opening of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations and ventures boldly down unexpected avenues. Jeffrey Kahane plays the role of keyboard maverick in Bach’s thrilling Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. The Borromeo String Quartet interprets a piece from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, the “Old Testament” of keyboard music, transformed by the ensemble’s violist Nicholas Kitchen. Returning SMF faculty Paul Neubauer joins the Borromeo String Quartet for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s unparalleled String Quintet No. 4—one of the greatest chamber works ever composed.
    • Stephanie Childress, conductor
      FESTIVAL FIRSTS

      Beethoven and Mendelssohn

      Saturday, June 8 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • REENA ESMAIL Teen Murti
      • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1
      • FELIX MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 1

      About

      Beethoven and Mendelssohn are icons of classical music.Don’t miss the chance to hear two of the most popular composers of all time. The not-to-be missed concert also features the Festival debut of two spectacular artists. Conductor Stephanie Childress makes her Festival debut with the music of Indian-American composer Reena Esmail, who weaves Hindustani ragas and Western classical techniques in the captivating, tuneful 11-minute Teen Murti ( Three Statues ). SMF Alumna Rachel Breen takes time out from her thriving European career to make her Festival solo debut with Ludwig van Beethoven’s bold Piano Concerto No. 1. The program concludes with a final first—Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1, composed when he was just 15 and bursting with youthful vigor.
    • Marcus Steveson, 2023 SMF Viola Fellow
      RISING STARS

      Rising Stars 1

      Sunday, June 9 | 2:30 pm | Holley Hall

      About

      Festival fellows perform movements from their favorite chamber works. This concert includes music by Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and more.
    • Mike Block, SMF Cello Faculty Artist
      ARTIST SHOWCASE

      Something Old, Something New

      Thursday, June 13 | 4:30 pm | Holley Hall

      Program

      • DURUFLÉ Prelude, Recitative and Variations
      • BEETHOVEN Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 16
      • DVOŘÁK Improvisations on Largo from the “New World” Symphony
      • DVOŘÁK Piano Trio No. 4 (Dumky)

      About

      Treasured masterpieces and novel experiences highlight the unique talents of this year’s Festival artists. The consummate perfectionist, Maurice Duruflé allowed only a few of his compositions—like his famous Requiem—to be published. Written for the unusual combination of flute, violin, and piano, his breathtaking Trio is among the few chamber works he composed. Modeled after Mozart and written early in his career, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat Major is almost symphonic in scope. Harnessing the magic of spontaneous live performance, two exciting young Festival faculty—Tessa Lark and Mike Block—join Jeffrey Kahane for an impromptu take on the famous theme from Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. Dvořák’s emotionally charged Piano Trio No. 4 unfolds in a series of vividly colorful dumka, or poetic elegies.
    • Jennifer Frautschi, SMF Violin Faculty Artist
      FESTIVAL FRIDAYS

      Tales and Tributes

      Friday, June 14 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • R. STRAUSS Serenade
      • VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending
      • JEFF SCOTT Trail of Tears
      • DVOŘÁK String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77

      About

      Tales and tributes come to life in vibrant musical colors. The teenage Richard Strauss pays homage to Mozart and Mendelssohn in his strikingly original E-flat Serenade for Winds. Subtitled “A Romance,” Ralph Vaughan Williams’s bittersweet The Lark Ascending brings pastoral innocence to life through rhapsodic solos that sound deceptively simple. Jeff Scott’s Trail of Tears tells the story of his great-great-grandfather, of Cherokee descent, who was among the 60,000 Native Americans forcibly ejected from their homes in the 19th century. Written in 1876 and bearing the dedication “For My Nation,” Antonín Dvořák’s Quintet in G Major adds double bass to the traditional string quartet, opening leagues of musical depth to the work that helped launch his international career.
    • Tessa Lark, SMF Violin Faculty Artist
      FESTIVAL SATURDAY

      American Soundscapes

      Saturday, June 15 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • HAILSTORK Sonata da Chiesa
      • COPLAND Clarinet Concerto
      • Improvisations on Beloved American Songs
      • Traditional Fiddle Tunes
      • DIEUPART (arr. Mike Block) Sarabande
      • Arr. Mike Block with SMF fellows Global Music Collaboration
      • MONROE (arr. Teddy Abrams) Blue Moon of Kentucky
      • MIKE BLOCK Iniche Cosebe

      About

      This one-night-only musical event sums up the spirit of the 2024 Festival—unbound, uninhibited, and genuinely transformative. Hailstork’s beautifully evocative Sonata da Chiesa—“church sonata” in the Baroque era—reflects his personal fascination with cathedrals. Written for Benny Goodman, Copland’s dynamic Clarinet Concerto is the only conductor-led piece on the program. Tessa Lark, Mike Block, and Jeffrey Kahane improvise on beloved American songs, while Lark and Block duet with traditional fiddle tunes. The perfumed world of 18th-century France collides with 21st-century jazz in Block’s arrangement of Dieupart’s Sarabande, then Block leads Festival fellows in an exhilarating, spur-of-the-moment jam. Lark puts her distinctive stamp on bluegrass legend Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and the experience culminates with Iniche Cosebe, Block’s quasi-improvised work inspired by “thank you very much” in the language of the Mandinka people.
    • Yuri Ahn, 2023 SMF Cello Fellow
      RISING STARS

      Rising Stars 2

      Sunday, June 16 | 2:30 pm | Holley Hall

      About

      Festival fellows perform movements from their favorite chamber works. This concert includes music by Beethoven, Dvořák, Schubert, and more.
    • Robert Levin, SMF Piano Faculty Artist
      SPECIAL EVENT

      Levin Lecture

      Wednesday, June 19 | 1:00 pm | Holley Hall

      About

      Robert Levin discusses the art of improvisation. Come prepared with a list of tunes, as Levin will improvise upon melodies the audience suggests.
    • Jasmine Choi, SMF Flute Faculty Artist
      ARTIST SHOWCASE

      Lustrous Sounds

      Thursday, June 20 | 4:30 pm | Holley Hall

      Program

      • J.S. BACH Violin Partita No. 3
      • POULENC Sextet
      • ILARI KAILA Hum and Drum
      • DOHNÁNYI Serenade

      About

      The final Artist Showcase of the 2024 Festival presents virtuosity in many guises. New SMF faculty member Benjamin Beilman, hailed for his “dreamy lyricism” and “heated intensity” (The New York Times), performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s unaccompanied Partita No. 3, incorporating improvised ornamentation Bach would have expected, but which is highly unusual today. SMF faculty revel in the jazzy Sextet Francis Poulenc wrote in 1932 as “an homage to the wind instruments I have loved from the moment I began composing.” Finnish American composer Ilari Kaila’s entrancing Hum and Drum (2017), performed by Karen Ouzounian and Jean Schneider, fuses romantic lyricism and mesmerizing drones. Ernst von Dohnányi’s Serenade possesses drama belied by its seemingly lighthearted title.
    • Nicole Martin, 2023 SMF Clarinet Fellow
      RISING STARS

      Rising Stars 3

      Friday, June 21 | 2:30 pm | Holley Hall

      About

      Festival fellows perform movements from their favorite chamber works. This concert includes music by Mendelssohn, Françaix, Brahms, and more.
    • Yura Lee, SMF Viola Faculty Artist
      FESTIVAL FRIDAY

      Romantic Reveries

      Friday, June 21 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • BEETHOVEN Octet
      • TCHAIKOVSKY Souvenir de Florence
      • FRANCK Piano Quintet

      About

      Delight in the richness of 19th-century Romanticism. The journey starts before the era begins with Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1793 Octet, written when the composer was a student of Classical master Joseph Haydn. Almost a century later, Tchaikovsky penned his lush Souvenir de Florence after a trip to Italy. As Tchaikovsky wrote to a patron, “I wrote it with the greatest enthusiasm and the least exertion.” Possibly born of his infatuation with a student, Franck’s late 19th-century Piano Quintet bursts with yearning melodies, its passionate extremes vaulted by Festival fellows side-by-side with faculty artists Sheryl Staples, Brinton Smith, and Robert Levin.
    • Jeffrey Kahane, SMF Music Director
      FESTIVAL SATURDAY

      Passion and Pride

      Saturday, June 22 | 7:30 pm | Sarasota Opera House

      Program

      • RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Major
      • ANNA CLYNE Shorthand
      • BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

      About

      Jeffrey Kahane’s cross-genre, cross-disciplinary talents are on full display as he both performs and conducts Ravel’s playful, virtuosic Piano Concerto. On a quest to write enjoyable music, Ravel combines his enthusiasm for jazz with a slow movement so exquisite that it led him to exclaim, “That flowing phrase! How I worked over it, bar by bar! It nearly killed me!” Tolstoy’s comment, “Music is the shorthand of emotion,” sparked Anna Clyne’s miniconcerto for cello. Having given the world premiere of Shorthand in 2022, Festival alumna Karen Ouzounian presides over the Sarasota premiere of this elegiac, mercurial work. The Festival concludes with Brahms’ magnificent Symphony No. 1, a perfect balance of passion and structure that took its composer decades to create.

Phone

Box Office: 941-953-3434
Administration: 941-953-4252

Hours

Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
And at the concert venue one hour prior to showtime.

Our Mission

Our mission is to engage, educate, and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.

Accessibility

Sarasota Orchestra is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible to everyone in our community.

All of the Orchestra’s facilities are accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

Assistive listening devices are available for all Orchestra performances.

Sarasota Music Festivalo