Gerard Schwarz is the most prominent conductor who will be in front of the Florida Orchestra this season.
A co-principal trumpet player with the New York Philharmonic before turning to conducting, he has headed any number of important musical organizations, such as the Seattle Symphony, New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in England. He has a vast discography, with more than 350 recordings to his credit, many of which are being reissued these days on the Naxos label.
With the Florida Orchestra this weekend, Schwarz pairs what may be Dvorak's greatest symphony, the Seventh, with Vaughan Williams' cantata Dona Nobis Pacem, a five-part plea for peace that opens with a setting of the Agnus Dei. It features the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and two soloists, soprano Sarah Coburn and bass-baritone Charles Robert Austin.
The performances are at 8 p.m. Friday at Morsani Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15-$45, with $10 tickets for students, educators and military. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free, 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic