Classical music powered by women

In classical music, it can be easy to overlook the influence of women. Beethoven! Mozart! Tchaikovsky! But now more than ever, women are making a huge impact on classical music every day, whether composing, conducting or performing. Since it’s International Women’s Day – and March is Women’s History Month, too – we take a look at upcoming Florida Orchestra concerts with amazing, meaningful music that just happens to be powered by women.

Woodson Chamber Concert (March 18)

A TFO string quintet will perform “Women in Music,” a program of works by female composers, to celebrate Women’s History Month in collaboration with the Woodson African American Museum. Performed by Nancy Chang and Sarah Shellman on violin, Sam Headlee on viola, Fred Gratta on cello, and Anna Kate Mackle on harp. Admission is pay what you can at the door, with proceeds benefiting the museum. Limited seating. 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at the museum.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 (April 14-15)

Impressive, award-winning conductor Elim Chan makes her TFO debut. Just look at her resume: first female winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition (2014); assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2015/16; and appointed to the Dudamel Fellowship program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2016/17. She leads pianist Louis Schwizgebel, who makes his TFO debut on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26, “Coronation.”  Also:  Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. Click for info/tickets.

There are too many women to list in our new 2018/19 season that starts in the fall, but here are a few in our Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series who probably are not on your radar but should be.

Jeannette Sorrell
Evening at Bach’s Coffeehouse (Oct. 26-28)

Renowned for her brilliance in baroque music, Jeannette Sorrell will both play harpsichord and conduct an Evening at Bach’s Coffeehouse (Oct. 26-28). On the program: Telemann’s Don Quixote Suite and Grillen-Symphonie, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Orchestral Suite No. 1 and Vivaldi’s La Folia (Madness).

Esther Yoo
Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony (Nov. 16-18)

Esther Yoo makes her TFO debut on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. She burst onto the scene in 2010 when she became the youngest winner of the International Sibelius Violin Competition at age 16. Also on the program: Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony and Elgar’s In the South (Alassio). Michael Francis conducts.

Nancy Chang
Mozart & Sibelius (Dec. 7-9)

TFO’s own Associate Concertmaster Nancy Chang teams up with Principal Viola Derek Mosloff on Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Chang performed internationally and toured more than 20 countries before joining TFO in 2006. Also on the program: Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov’s Night on Bald Mountain and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1. Stuart Malina conducts. You can also see Chang with the Palladium Chamber Players on March 14, as well as the Woodson Chamber Concert on March 18, mentioned above.

Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 (April 12-14, 2019)

How often does this happen? The conductor, a composer and soloist are all women. Known for her dynamic presence on the podium, New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New appears with TFO for the first time. She conducts TFO’s own Principal Second Violin Sarah Shellman as soloist in Anna Clyne’s The Seamstress. Also on the program: Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Schumann’s Manfred Overture, both of which involve Clara Schumann’s influence.

In our Raymond James Pops series, we have to mention the Women Rock concert (March 2-3, 2019). It’s a tribute to the women who changed rock ‘n’ roll forever, including Carole King, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Pat Benatar and more. Featuring I Feel The Earth Move, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Proud Mary, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, I Love Rock n’ Roll and You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman. Vocalists include Shayna Steele, Cassidy Catanzaro and Katrina Rose; Bob Bernhardt conducts.

If you’re interested, 2018/19 concert series subscriptions are on sale now; single tickets available Aug. 13. Did we mention you can Compose Your Own series for just $25 a ticket for three or more concerts? Your very own Women’s Series would be pretty awesome. Just saying.

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