The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949, and currently plays at the 1,800 seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned artists such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s currently led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti, who has been in the position since 1999. He will be stepping down in May, but not until helming productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring. The Jacksonville Symphony also partners with Duval County and three other public school systems to provide some 84,000 children the opportunity to both listen to and participate in youth-oriented symphony events. The orchestra’s charitable works, world-class facility and enduring star power have helped keep Jacksonville culture on the map for decades.
For more than 25 years, the Festival of Orchestras has attracted internationally renowned symphony orchestras to fill central Florida with the crashing thunder of brass instruments and the melodious vibrations of strings. Hearken to the harmonious reverberations of the German State Philharmonic, playing its first U.S. tour and featuring conductor Philippe Entremont, whose enigmatic conducting style has inspired musicians and accidentally opened intergalactic wormholes. With this deal, you'll get to witness the orchestra at Longwood's Northland Performing Arts Center, called a "music lover's dream" by the Orlando Sentinel for its wide seats and warm acoustics. The program includes a sweeping performance of historically moving pieces, including Weber's Oberon Overture, a piano concerto by Mozart, and Mahler's Symphony no. 4. Call 407-539-0245 to reserve spots for a free optional pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Constructed in 1934 in the Spanish-mission style, the San Jose Civic has played host to a star-studded lineup of performers—including The Who, who kicked off its first U.S. tour on the Civic's venerable stage. The building's elegant, dual-level exterior and softy lit tower recall bygone days of conquistadors, and the remodeled auditorium's armrests and cup holders keep chalices of gold comfortably upright.