The Alliance for the Arts' concerts, exhibitions, and art classes have become a staple for the aesthetically inclined since the institution's founding in 1975. The center’s three art galleries elicit awe with ongoing exhibits, and its educational programs inspire students to express their feelings through painting and drawing. The Alliance’s schedule of events keeps fans of the performing arts intrigued with plentiful music festivals and dance recitals.
Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.
Celebrating his 17th year as Gulf Coast Symphony's music director, Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz leads his fine-tuned squad of melody crafters through programs that beautifully showcase classic works. "Brahms/Rachmaninoff" features fiddler Timothy Schwarz giving life to Brahms's Violin Concerto, navigating the piece's legendary difficulty with virtuosic aplomb and the pinpoint timing of a hoop-jumping dolphin. Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances brings all the master composer's skills to bear on a three-movement summation of his career featuring shimmering tapestries of sound and a thundering finale. Concerts kick off with an informative speech from maestro Kurtz, immersing audiences in the upcoming works, deepening appreciation, and pushing used-car-commercial jingles out the other ear.
Capping the season with this final concert, the North Port Symphony premieres Concerto for Guitar, a commissioned work from local composer Rex Willis. Soloist Thomas Koch, Willis's friend and colleague, mans the frets and draws forth the composer's playful blend of blues, Latin beats, and Copland-tinged sweep while a full orchestra backs him up.
Florida Orchestra has delighted ears across the Tampa Bay area for 44 seasons filled with time-tested masterworks and sprightly pops concerts. Created in the 1968 merger between the St. Petersburg Symphony and the Tampa Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra ties the two sides of the bay together into one musical tradition. The ensemble has continued its program of outreach ever since, which has recently included cultural exchange programs with Cuba, collaborations with local institutions, and the tradition of allowing one lucky child to sleep inside a tuba during each performance.
The State Theatre was saved, as its website states, from "the ravages of time." Built in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film palace, the venue fell on hard times in the 1970s when disco balls replaced light fixtures and complex hand-slaps were substituted for tickets. In 2003, however, a $3 million renovation restored the State Theatre to much of its original glory, as crews painstakingly rehabbed the ornamental plaster and terracotta exterior. Inside the theater, a stunning chandelier sparkles more brightly than ever below the venue's signature dome.