The History of the Orchestra
Now celebrating its 68th season, the Sarasota Orchestra announced the appointment of Estonian conductor Anu Tali as music director in June 2013.
The Orchestra performs more than 125 classical, pops, chamber, education and community engagement concerts per season. Its first concert in 1949 was conducted by Dr. Lyman Wiltse, and under its original name, the Florida West Coast Symphony. Now the longest continuous performing Orchestra in the state of Florida, the organization has provided exceptional music under three previous music directors: Alexander Bloch, Paul Wolfe and Leif Bjaland. In 2008, the organization was renamed as the Sarasota Orchestra and launched new concert formats, vibrant marketing and innovative programming, bringing national attention to the 80-musician ensemble.
The organization’s educational activities include a youth orchestra program featuring seven ensembles, Young Person’s Concerts for all area fourth and fifth graders, and a summer music camp.
The Sarasota Orchestra also manages the internationally renowned Sarasota Music Festival, under the artistic leadership of Robert Levin. The Sarasota Music Festival is one of the world’s finest teaching festivals for pre-professional classical musicians.