The Florida Orchestra winds up its season this weekend with traditional music under the baton of a tradition-minded conductor.
Gunther Herbig, with his silvery mane and erect bearing, is the very picture of the old-school maestro. He was music director of orchestras in Potsdam, Dresden and the former East Berlin in communist East Germany. He comes to the Tampa Bay area through his friendship with music director Stefan Sanderling and, especially, Sanderling's conductor father, Kurt. In 1977, Herbig succeeded Kurt Sanderling as music director of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and held the post until immigrating to the United States in 1984 to head the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He also was music director of the Toronto Symphony.
In his first appearance here two years ago, Herbig conducted symphonies of Sibelius and Mozart. This time around, his program brings the orchestra's 2009-10 season to a close with a pair of romantic staples, Schubert's Symphony No. 5 and Brahms' Symphony No. 2. Concerts are at 8 p.m. Friday at Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; and at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. $20-$67. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic