The silent church seems to lean in with anticipation as Dr. Karen Kennedy raises her arm into the air. With a graceful flick of her baton, the artistic director of Master Chorale of South Florida—an accomplished conductor and teacher—coaxes forth the opening strains of Bach’s Magnificat from the flock of singers and musicians in front of her, weaving their voices into a tapestry of crescendos and soaring notes. Since its creation in 2002, Master Chorale of South Florida has performed their awe-inspiring concerts in churches, cathedrals, and high schools across South Florida, delighting audiences with a diverse choral repertoire. Audiences can expect to hear many musical periods represented in each performance, from the baroque stylings of Handel to Debussy’s impressionistic melodies and Aaron Copland’s epic pieces that blend traditional American folk songs with traditional Bruce Springsteen hits.
The intimate venue known today as City Theatre opened its doors in 1993 as the Second City Detroit. Renamed in 2004, the space still hews to the comedy troupe’s mission with a packed schedule of thigh-slapping theatrical performances. The stage is located inside the Hockeytown Café, where the entertainment is supplemented by a menu of beer, buffalo wings, and deep-fried pucks.
Maestra Sebrina Mar?a Alfonso is much more than a music director waving a wand. She's a visionary who built an entire symphonic empire from the ground up. She's an ambassador of classical music whose tireless efforts have enriched the culture of the Florida Keys. Plus she was the first Cuban/American conductor to lead the National Orchestra of Cuba, and she's conducted an entire concert underwater. Beat that, Leopold Stokowski.
But before the South Florida Symphony came to full fruition as what CBS Radio calls a "world class orchestra," it began as the Key West Symphony Orchestra, which was no small task to assemble in land made of long chains of islands. Yet Alfonso's passion for building an orchestra in the lair of parrotheads was a smashing success, attracting international guest musicians, grateful audiences, and plenty of acclaim. And having accomplished her mission of culturally overhauling the Keys, the Maestra moved to Fort Lauderdale and caught lightning in a bottle twice with the South Florida Symphony. The new SFSO attracts the top symphonic talents and renowned guests artists, and blankets Key West to Palm Beach with the mellifluous power of classical music.
The Boca Raton Symphonia infuses South Florida's arts and culture community with spirited classical-music performances, escorting listeners through the works of some of history's most revered composers. As the first installment of a two-part mini series, the January 14 concert spotlights guest conductor Arthur Fagen alongside piano soloist Alex Cobrin, who employs masterful keystrokes to caress open ears like a grizzled groundskeeper caresses his glass eyeball during a time of quiet reflection. Throughout the program, the ensemble's vacillating scales will reverberate during the premiere of Turkin's Five Brief Essays on One Theme before shifting to a pair of fiery pieces, including Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 4 and Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 3. From seats in section A, attendees enjoy up-close views of the stage while basking in tightly spun measures or the company of their mannequin dates.
Most people would feel spread thin if they were running orchestras on both sides of the country. But most people aren't Michael Tilson Thomas. One of America's most famous conductors, composers, and tuxedo-wearers, Tilson Thomas has remained the artistic director of the New World Symphony since he founded it in 1987, even after becoming musical director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1995. This is because the Miami-based orchestra feeds a need for Tilson Thomas: that of remaining at the forefront of symphonic trends, in a laboratory where top musical graduates can explore performance and compositional opportunities. But new works from students and professionals aren't the only thing on the New World Symphony's docket?every year, ticket-holders can expect a thrilling lineup of the classical masters who built the genre.
Since 1989, The Miami Symphony Orchestra has mimicked Miami’s cultural diversity with concerts and events that act as a melting pot of musical influences. Music director Eduardo Marturet, a Venezuelan composer and conductor, helms many of the concerts, encouraging the musicians to unleash their inner Beethovens or Bachs—former members of the ’80s hair-metal band Skid Row.