With expanded concerts, the retooled South Florida Symphony is set to make an ambitious debut

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The South Florida Symphony will present five concerts at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale in the 2010-2011 season.

The neatly paved streets of downtown Fort Lauderdale are littered with the detritus of failed orchestras. The Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, which went bankrupt in 2003, is the most infamous and tragic, but in its wake there have been other attempts to launch an ensemble with a Broward County emphasis. Among these have been the Renaissance Chamber Orchestra, the Florida Symphony and others, all of which couldn’t sustain themselves due to a lack of financial resources, stagnant ticket sales, incompetent management or a combination of the above.

Enter the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, which will open its first full season at the Broward Center in October. Formerly known as the Key West Symphony, under the guidance of its dynamic CEO Jacqueline Lorber, the South Florida Symphony is aggressively expanding to a four-county series with performances at the Broward Center, Lincoln Theatre in Miami Beach, Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West and one night at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. The orchestra’s offices are now located at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Music director Sebrina Maria Alfonso will lead five programs featuring an impressive array of guest artists for the South Florida Symphony’s inaugural expanded season. Violinist Chee-Yun will open the season Oct. 6-9 to perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto on a program that also includes music of Brahms and Elgar.

Lara. St. John will be the featured soloist Dec. 1-5 performing works of Mozart and Sarasate on a program that also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4.

Barry Douglas will be the solo protagonist in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 Jan. 28-Feb. 1 with Alfonso also conducting works of Vaughan Williams and Khachaturian.

One of the most intriguing programming elements is the South Florida Symphony’s commitment to music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami-born composer’s works have been woefully neglected locally, and the South Florida Symphony is set to rectify that by presenting two recent Zwilich works. A chamber concert featuring the SIMA Trio March 2-7 will present Zwilich’s Sextet and the season-closing concerts (April 29-May 1) will include the Florida premiere of Zwilich’s Symphony No. 5, a work the orchestra plans to record. That program will also feature Shostakovich’s Festival Overture and pianist Adam Golka playing Tchaikovsky.

For further information and to purchase single tickets and season subscriptions, call 800-775-4086 or go to www.southfloridasymphony.org.

Posted in Articles

4 Responses to “With expanded concerts, the retooled South Florida Symphony is set to make an ambitious debut”

  1. Posted Sep 03, 2010 at 8:53 am by Jeffrey Biegel

    This is splendid news! Sebrina Alfonso is one of the most energetic and entrepreneurial musicians on today’s scene. We have shared the stage before, and it is truly a blessing to the region to have this new South Florida Symphony Orchestra. I wish the orchestra a successful season ahead, and urge audiences in the region to support this orchestra and its efforts in every way possible. We plan to work together in a new project celebrating South Florida’s own native composer, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Good luck to all the musical organizations in South Florida!

  2. Posted Sep 03, 2010 at 10:29 pm by michael a. taddonio

    I wish the South Florida Symphony 100% success. However, I do hope that it learns from the failed orchestras and doesn’t repeat their mistakes. I do hope that classical music fans give the orchestra a chance and come out and support it by going to the concerts and donating to it.

  3. Posted Sep 05, 2010 at 2:03 pm by Martin Bookspan

    What great news this is! And what progressive ambition seems to be the motivating element behind-the-scenes of this orchestra’s creation. I salute all involved, and look forward to a season of elegant and involved music-making.

  4. Posted Nov 29, 2010 at 8:39 am by Unpaid musician #50?

    This “retooled” symphony has not been re-funded. At the moment, this organization is in serious financial arrears. It owes its’ musicians their salaries and travel expenses from the January 2010 concerts. This debt is now nearly a year old. The management hired musicians from all the over the country to perform in South Florida, then stiffed them their pay and didn’t reimburse them for airline tickets. The management is ignoring the musicians’ pleas to be paid, and will likely be subject to a class-action suit.

Leave a Comment

Wed Sep 1, 2010
at 4:11 pm