Monday, November 30, 2015

Symphonia Boca Raton Begins 10th Season


A Triumphant Tenth Season for Symphonia Boca Raton

By Skip Sheffield

How fortunate that Boca Raton music lovers have our very own world-class chamber orchestra. It's known as The Symphonia Boca Raton, and it provides a pleasing blend of classics and contemporary music.
The Symphonia Boca Raton is celebrating its tenth season. Thanks to loyal support from classical music lovers, it stands to be around at least another ten years. The first Connoisseur Concerts of the season will be presented Dec. 4-6 under the guest direction of Alastair Willis.
As an historical footnote, there was a previous symphony orchestra in Boca Raton, which merged with the Fort Lauderdale Philharmonic Orchestra to become the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. Sadly the Florida Philharmonic bowed out in 2003 amid insurmountable financial difficulties.
Operating a classical orchestra is expensive, but Boca Symphonia was founded in 2004 on a sound business model by Marshall Turkin and Martin B. Coyne; both music professionals, with FPO principal trumpet Jeffrey Kaye as manager (and now artistic director). They enlisted the help of generous philanthropists Edith and Martin Stein for seed money and continuing support. The result is an orchestra that apart from its four Connoisseur Concert Season plays Festival of Arts Boca. It accompanies the Master Chorale of South Florida, and performs community concerts sponsored by the City of Boca Raton. An outreach program provides education for young people.
The December Connoisseur Weekend begins with an 11:30 Friday Dec. 4 Box lunch with the Symphonia at the Unitarian Congregation, 2601 St. Andrews Blvd. The Allegro Society sponsorship offers music lovers a sample of the Symphonia’s rehearsal and conversations with the musicians and guest artists. Grammy-nominated Alastair Willis, currently Music Director of the Illinois Symphony, returns as guest conductor. Willis will speak about the concert, which features Kodaly, Mozart and Beethoven in a “Gypsy Airs” program. The box lunch cost is $35, or all four box lunches for $100.
Saturday, Dec. 5 is a special day for children and their families, with an opportunity to interact with the conductor and musicians starting at 10:30 a.m. in the intimate, acoustically excellent Roberts Theatre of St. Andrew’s School, 3900 Jog Road. Admission is free for children and just $5 for adults.
The main event is the 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 Connoisseur Concert at Roberts Theatre. The soloist is violinist Charles Weatherbee of the University of Colorado, Boulder and first violin of the Carpe Diem String Quartet. He will be featured on Mozart’s Violin Concert No. 5, A major. Beethoven’ Symphony No. 7, A major, op. 92 will be played. Mozart’s Violin Concerto should be familiar to most. Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly is less familiar, but he is a major name in classical music, having devised his own method of education. His “Dances of Galanta” will be performed.
Subsequent Connoisseur Concerts will be presented Jan. 8-10 with conductor and soloist David Kim, violin for a program of Bach, Pachebel and Piazzola. The Feb. 5-7 Connoisseur weekend features guest conductor Carolyn Kuan and piano soloist Alexandre Moutouzkine performing Copland, Poulenc, Faure and the ever-popular Mozart. Finally March 18-20 welcomes returning guest conductor Gerard Schwartz and famed piano soloist Misha Dichter performing Beethoven, Ives and Mendelssohn.
Season subscriptions range from $150 to $250. Single tickets are $45-$75. Call 866-687-1201 or go to

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