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Elgar's Cello Concerto features one of Florida Orchestra's veterans

James Connors, Florida Orchestra principal cellist

Thomas Bruce Studio

James Connors, Florida Orchestra principal cellist

There's something about the number eight this weekend with the Florida Orchestra.

In the spotlight will be the orchestra's own James Connors, principal cellist for 25 years — since 1988 — playing Edward Elgar's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 85. Elgar's last major work, it seems to signal both his unhappiness over World War I and his descent into becoming a crotchety, lonely old man in his final years. It's mellow, meditative. The other two works on the program should pick up the mood a bit. Dvorak's pastoral Symphony No. 8, Op. 88 reflects his carefree months at his summer retreat in 1889. Haydn's Symphony No. 88 is a blend of lively and stately themes.

The guest conductor is the much sought-after Mei-Ann Chen, the first woman to win the Malko Competition for young conductors, in 2005. She has conducted here before, in the 2007-08 season for Shostakovich's Festive Overture.

Performances: 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. Onstage seats ($75): At press time, Mahaffey's 10 seats were sold out, Straz had eight available and REH had two left. (727) 892-3337.

Kelly Smith, Times staff writer

Elgar's Cello Concerto features one of Florida Orchestra's veterans 11/19/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 7:14pm]
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