Musical Musings

Meet a Festival Faculty Artist: Nathan Hughes, Oboe

Nathan Hughes is principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera and faculty member of The Juilliard School. He joins Sarasota Music Festival’s faculty artists this year for the first time and will be showcased on SMF’s first Friday Festival Concert in a performance of Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C Major. When we caught up with Nathan on the Festival’s second day, however, we found out his connections to Sarasota Music Festival go back 22 years when he was a Festival Fellow!

Jeffrey Kahane's not to miss Festival Picks

“As always, it’s extremely difficult to talk about ‘highlights’ when there are so many of them in a very short space of time. But these concerts are a great guide as to what I think are the outstanding moments of this year’s Festival.”

RoseAnne McCabe's not to miss Festival Pass Picks

“I chose these selections because they offer a variety of things that happen during SMF. Observing over the years what the most popular festival pass patron events, these highlights offer our new festival pass patrons a great sample of exciting and enriching options.”

Do You Know Your “Holly-words”? A Hollywood Hits Dictionary

Music is like a language all its own—and that language comes with its own special dictionary! Even the specific genre of movie music has generated unique terminology for the ways film scores pull audiences into the drama on-screen. When you add these terms to your music vocabulary, you’ll head to Sarasota Orchestra’s Hollywood Hits concert a newly-minted film music buff.

Inside a Musical Mind: Two EarShot Composers Share Their Creative Processes

Have you ever gotten caught up in Bach’s deftly dancing counterpoint, the detailed texture in Mozart’s sonic tapestries, or the rich emotion in Beethoven’s convention-breaking harmonies, and wondered—how in the world did they come up with that?

Program Notes, Pops Edition: "An Evening with Judy Garland"

Much of the world loves to paint Judy Garland as a tragic figure, a stage-and-screen supernova whose impetuous light burned so fiercely it was destined to suddenly gutter out. There are those who believe Garland and her appetite for life were her own undoing. Others blame her premature decline and fatal overdose (in 1969, at age 47) on decades of being eaten alive by an unforgiving industry. Thanks to journalist Herbert Kretzmer, we know Garland herself rejected the notion that she was born under a bad star.

How Mozart’s "Gran Partita" Changed the Wind Music Game

Mozart’s Serenade in B-flat Major, better known by its subtitle Gran Partita, offers a glorious explosion of Classical-era Harmoniemusik for small wind ensembles, which buoyed up many 18th-century garden get-togethers and outdoor parties. Much about the Serenade in B-flat Major is a mystery (its exact year of composition, for instance, or whose scribbling on the manuscript lent the work its enduring nickname).

Judy Garland with Live Orchestra Wows Audiences and Critics

Concert-Goers react to “An Evening with Judy Garland: "It’s a dream come true.” ... “I closed my eyes and imagined I was at a Judy concert in the 1960s.” ... “You were there. It was just—real.” 

Announcing Sarasota Orchestra’s 2019-20 Masterworks and Discover Beethoven Concerts

In a season that affirms Sarasota Orchestra’s vitality and upward trajectory, nine guest conductors will arrive at the podium for the 2019-20 Masterworks and Discover Beethoven concert series. Each conductor rides the wave of an illustrious career, and all are highly sought-after worldwide. What’s more, ten soloists who are electrifying today’s concert halls will share prodigious musical gifts in their interpretations of masterpieces from Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms, and beyond!

Violinist Viviane Hagner Shares the Joys of Saint-Saëns and Vieuxtemps

Violin virtuoso Viviane Hagner makes her debut with Sarasota Orchestra on this season's Masterworks 5 concert, with performances running January 31 to February 3. While Hagner is known for her dedication to new music, critics also laud her seemingly effortless renditions of monumental works for solo violin. Hagner provides two European ports-of-call on this concert's "Round Trip to Paris": Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 5, and Camille Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for violin and orchestra, both widely regarded as virtuosic masterpieces.

'An American in Paris' True Nature Revealed

George Gershwin took his third and final trip to Paris in March of 1928. One afternoon, instead of visiting the Louvre with friends, Gershwin went out on a shopping excursion with a rather unusual list: French taxi horns. These horns weren't souvenirs; they were a crucial element for the orchestration of a new symphonic poem Gershwin had been developing for a couple of months: An American in Paris. The composition paints the scene of an intrepid tourist exploring the French capital, walking off his homesick blues and ultimately embracing the bustling, hectic, but altogether beautiful metropolis. Quacking taxi horns lend An American in Paris its most instantly-recognizable urban noises. For Gershwin, however, they weren't just meant to evoke the authentic sounds of the city. They were essential to making Gershwin's tone poem truly modern music in the implementation of artifacts from the surrounding world.

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Annual Fund

Gifts to the Annual Fund ensure that Sarasota Orchestra can continue to share the gift of music with our community through concerts, education and outreach programs. Please join us by making a donation today. Together, we can keep the music playing, now and always.

Don't Miss These
Special Events

Join us to celebrate our 75th Anniversary at these exciting events.

Dinner Series
Six Dinners throughout the season

Orchestra Brunch
Sunday, November 12, 2023

Celebrate 75 Concert and Gala
Thursday, February 15, 2024


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About Us

Our mission is to engage, educate, and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.


Sarasota Orchestra is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible to everyone in our community.

All of the Orchestra’s facilities are accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

Assistive listening devices are available for all Orchestra performances.