Frederick Delius is one of the few classical composers with a significant Florida connection. As a young man in 1884, he came from England to work at an orange plantation south of Jacksonville, and his experience there had a big influence on his music.
This weekend, the Florida Orchestra, Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and baritone soloist Leon Williams perform two works by Delius: Sea Drift and Appalachia. The program also includes Beethoven's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and Copland's Lincoln Portrait, with poet James Tokley as narrator. Music director Stefan Sanderling conducts. Performances are at 10 a.m. Friday (the first of the orchestra's new morning masterworks series) and 8 p.m. Saturday, both at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15, $30, $45. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.
Several presentations to complement the concerts will feature a pair of Delius experts, Joseph Horowitz, author of Classical Music in America, and Don Gillespie, author of The Search for Thomas F. Ward, Teacher of Frederick Delius.
Horowitz and Gillespie lead a discussion on Delius As I Knew Him by Eric Fenby at 7:30 tonight at the orchestra office, St. Petersburg College Downtown. Participants are asked to obtain and read the book in advance if possible. Free. To register, contact Cindy Long at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 362-5421.
At noon Friday, there is a postconcert lunch, hosted by Russell Gant of WSMR and featuring remarks by Horowitz and Gillespie on Delius' career at the Mahaffey Grand Ballroom. Tickets cost $25 and are available at floridaorchestra.org.
Horowitz and Gillespie will make preconcert presentations about Delius at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Free with concert admission.