By Jodi Mailander Farrell
The South Florida Symphony, a unique gathering of professional symphonic musicians based in Key West, is taking its “Tropical Beats” on the road for a second season to reach a broader audience and expose more people to the joys of classical music.
That’s good news for anybody traveling in South Florida because there are four more opportunities to catch one of the symphony’s musical excursions this season.
Exporting classical music from a traditional concert setting to a smaller, more intimate experience, the musical group, originally known as the Key West Symphony, is part of a creative dining experience and concert called “Starry Night All in White” featuring the Blue Door String Quartet with guest cellist Garo Yellin performing the Schubert two-cello quintet at 5 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2015, at the Pier Top of the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, 2301 Southeast 17th St., in Fort Lauderdale.
The same show will take place at the Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd., in Key West on Jan. 6.
Later, on Feb. 25, there’s “An Evening with Terry Barber” at 6:30 p.m. at Leiser Opera Center, 221 SW 3rd Ave., in Fort Lauderdale, followed by repeat performances at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at an Ocean Ridge resident in Delray Beach and at 6:30 p.m. at San Carlos Theater, 516 Duval St., in Key West.
On March 8, symphony members perform “Outer Voices” at 6:30 p.m. at an Ocean Ridge home in Delray Beach. The concert features the Blue Door String Quartet with violinist Whitney La Grange and cellist Arthur Cook performing the duos for violin and cello by Handel-Halvorsen, Gliere, and Kodaly. The concert repeats at 6:30 p.m. on March 9 at Hyatt Pier Top 66 in Fort Lauderdale and at 6:30 p.m. on March 11 at Eaton Street Theater, 522 Eaton St., in Key West.
The South Florida Symphony Orchestra is the dream of music director and conductor Sebrina María Alfonso, along with Key West residents and city leaders interested in making live symphonic music accessible to the community – not an easy task for an island community at the end of a sparsely populated, 150-mile long, rural chain of islands. Maestra Alfonso was born and raised in Key West, a sixth-generation “Conch.”
Even with the accolades she enjoyed during the years she studied and performed across the country and in Europe, Key West continued to hold a special place in Alfonso’s heart. With the support of her family and friends, she returned to Key West and founded the Key West Symphony Orchestra in August 1997.
In 2002, Alfonso became the first Cuban-American conductor invited to conduct Cuba’s premier orchestra, the National Orchestra of Cuba, and she received standing ovations. Several sold out shows and years later, she received accolades for her appearances as a guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Jose Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, the Prague Radio Symphony, the Orchestra de Rus in Sienna, Italy, and the Women’s Philharmonic, among others. She even conducted an underwater concert for over 400 divers.
Tickets are $95-$150 per person. Reserve in advance at www.southfloridasymphony.org or 954-522-8445.
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