Sarasota Orchestra Music Center
a gathering place for all who wish to experience great music

Vision

A Community Destination

Now is the time to dream of, work toward and bring about a new vision for arts and culture in Sarasota and Manatee Counties with a Music Center that will expand our region’s cultural capacity for many generations.

As the area grows, and the arts and cultural community grows along with it, demand for performance, rehearsal and education space is eclipsing available supply. It’s challenging our ability and the ability of other community music programs to even maintain the status quo.

A Transformational Instrument

We envision a Music Center that not only addresses this critical need for expansion, but also elevates our community to new artistic heights with something it’s never had: a concert hall purpose-built for acoustic music.

Click to learn more from our Board Chair Tom Koski about how our Music Center will enhance our city and orchestra.

impact

Bharat Chandra, Fernando Traba, and Edward Rumzis

More than seven decades ago, Sarasota music teacher, Ruth Cotton Butler, dreamt of creating an orchestra for her community. In less than a year, she rallied a community of like-minded music lovers for our first concerts … and the rest is history. 

Sarasota Orchestra has now been a part of a local arts community longer than any other orchestra in Florida. Driven by our mission to engage, educate and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences, we are proud to have achieved significant community impact.

Music is at the Core of our Mission

Please enjoy a recording of the second movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 performed in January 2023 by Sarasota Orchestra.

Community input

The Music Center will provide a space for the creation and sharing of music at the highest caliber by people of all ages and backgrounds, both onstage and off.  

  • A broadly distributed survey throughout our community confirmed most Sarasota-Manatee County residents believe the Music Center will become an important new performing arts asset and plan to attend events there in the future.
    • 85% support the Music Center project
    • 78% believe the Music Center will serve as an important cultural resource for our community
    • 85% recognize the impact an acoustic concert hall will have on the quality of audience experiences
    • 89% of people said they would be likely to attend future events at the new location
  • Nearly 30 local arts organizations shared positive feedback about the music center project, with an emphasis on the need for a permanent home to host rehearsals and performances.
  • Residential neighbors near the Music Center site have expressed enthusiasm and shared valuable input for consideration about outdoor parks and walking trails, parking and privacy.

Sarasota Orchestra's Arts Partners Share Their Thoughts on the Music Center

Sarasota Concert Association
The new Music Center would not only be a tremendous asset to the community…but it would be a great enhancement to our own Great Performers series and a significant benefit to our audiences.

Linda Moxley
Executive Director at Sarasota Concert Association

Sarasota Contemporary Dance
Accessing spaces and theaters in our area that can serve both dancers and musicians, is a challenge that personally affects our organization and arts community….The fact that the Music Center envisions to create an inclusive and flexible space for artists of various genres, is especially exciting for Sarasota Contemporary Dance.

Leymis Bolanos Wilmott
Co-founder & Artistic Director at Sarasota Contemporary Dance

Sarasota Concert Association
The [Music Center] will be a much needed and welcome facility and resource for Sarasota and the surrounding area. A true concert hall is really essential to experiencing a symphony orchestra. The Sarasota Orchestra is a world class ensemble and deserves a performance space which will allow it to perform at its best and fully appreciated by the audience.

Robert Vodnoy
Music Director at Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota

Sarasota Contemporary Dance
[The Music Center] is an opportunity we should seize, which will exponentially bolster Sarasota’s reputation as the ‘Suncoast Culture Capital.

Jack Barnett
Board President of Sarasota Pops Orchestra

Sarasota Contemporary Dance
Key Chorale is looking ahead to present its 39th season in Sarasota. Never in those 39 years have we had a performance ‘home.’ Sarasota Orchestra has gone to great lengths to extend themselves, not only to Key Chorale, but to many smaller performing arts groups who wish to benefit from [its] plans to build a Music Center.

Joseph Caulkins
Artistic Director at Key Chorale

Choral Artists
Performance space designed for acoustic music that is superior in quality will have a lasting effect on this area as there is no other venue like it at this time.

Joseph Holt and Susan Burke
Artistic Director and Executive Director of Choral Artists of Sarasota

We welcome the community’s continued input. Please direct questions and feedback about the project to questions@sarasotaorchestra.org.

concert hall

Imagine a concert experience in which every note, every nuance and every harmony is heard perfectly from every seat, resonating exactly as the conductor and musicians intend. This is our vision for the Music Center’s acoustically engineered concert hall – the fourth in Florida and first on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Just as the right instrument can elevate a musical talent from good to great, a concert hall designed and built for acoustic music has the potential to elevate Sarasota Orchestra to ever-greater artistic heights.  Moreover, generations of audiences will be transformed by the music that envelops them.   

Thoughts from Our Creative Consultant

A great concert hall is an inspiration for musicians to explore the myriad possibilities in orchestra sound and have the confidence that their every expression is reaching the audience with immediacy and power.

Peter Oundjian
Peter Oundjian
Creative Consultant
Read Full Testimonial

Sarasota Orchestra Musicians Share Their Thoughts
on the Impact of a Great Concert Hall

A great concert hall with outstanding acoustics allows audiences to both ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ the music, in a shared experience with the orchestra.

Peter Oundjian
Fernando Traba
Principal Bassoon 

Great concert halls attract and inspire both people who love classical music and are new to the experience.

Peter Oundjian
Justin Vibbard
Principal Librarian 

A great concert hall is a place where the next generation of musicians are inspired and challenged to listen, learn, and participate in enriching the entire community.

Peter Oundjian
Natalie Helm
Principal Cello 

A great concert hall is a musical home with which the entire community takes pride and immerses itself in joy.

Peter Oundjian
John Miller
Principal Bass 

Facility Design

The Music Center’s location at 5701 Fruitville Road creates a tremendous opportunity for Sarasota Orchestra and our partner organizations to inspire new levels of innovation, collaboration and discovery through diverse activities in a natural setting.

Sarasota Orchestra Muisc Center Site

Primary features of the Music Center will include

  • Concert Hall: State-of-the-art acoustic space with 1,800 seats, including a center aisle.
  • Flexible Performance Space: Flexible space with 700 removable seats to accommodate a range of programs.
  • Modern Patron Conveniences: Split aisles for more easily accessible seating, modern air handling and related technology for audience comfort and safety, and ample parking, covered valet and drop off areas.
  • Rehearsal and Practice Rooms: Multiple rehearsal and practice rooms suitable for ensembles of all sizes, serving the Orchestra’s Education and Festival programs and community arts organizations.
  • Music Library: Secure, weather-proof storage for the Orchestra’s vast collection of sheet music and archives, as well as adequate workspaces for preparing music for performances.
  • Backstage Spaces for Musicians: Dedicated areas for musicians to comfortably store cases, warm up and prepare for performances.
  • Function Hall: Community event space and reception area.
  • Orchestra Administrative Offices and Storage Space: Much-needed space for administrative functions and enhanced storage spaces.
  • Natural Settings: Roughly 12 acres dedicated to wetlands, water features, natural parks and trails.

Project News & Updates

Music Center Planning Updates

In the News

Project Milestones

2014

Needs assessment and market analysis projects commence

2014

2017

Space program determined

2018

Site search begins

2018

2021

Due diligence completed for 5701 Fruitville Road

2022

Intent to purchase announced
Zoning approval process begins
Survey of Sarasota and Manatee County residents completed

2022

2023

Sarasota County approves zoning amendments
Land purchase completed
Stages Consultants selected as project acoustician and theater planner

Music Center FAQs

Sarasota Orchestra is planning a Music Center that will expand the Sarasota-Manatee region’s cultural capacity for many generations. As the area grows, and the arts and cultural community grows along with it, demand for performance, rehearsal and education space is eclipsing available supply. The Music Center will address this critical need for expansion and elevate the community to new artistic heights with something the region has never had: a concert hall purpose-built for acoustic music.

Music Center Site at Sunset

Phone

Box Office: 941-953-3434
Administration: 941-953-4252

Hours

Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
And at the concert venue one hour prior to showtime.

Our Mission

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

Accessibility

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.

Sarasota Orchestra logo