Thursday, February 22, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Florida Orchestra features star flutist Clay Ellerbroek

Some principal players in symphony orchestras who are excellent musicians don't necessarily thrive when they are featured in concertos or other solo works in front of their colleagues. Perhaps they are too used to being part of the group to shine in the spotlight.

Clay Ellerbroek, principal flute of the Florida Orchestra, doesn't seem as if he will have that problem. For one thing, the first-chair flute probably has more solos per score than any orchestra player, and Ellerbroek is invariably rock solid in them. And he has flair, not just in his playing but also in his many hairstyles.

"The hair is always changing," Ellerbroek said last week, laughing. "It's long. It's short. It's a Mohawk."

Short appears to be the look for Ellerbroek's performance this weekend as the soloist in Lowell Liebermann's Flute Concerto.

"I fell in love with it the first time I heard it," he said of the work. "A lot of it has a cinematic scope that reminds me of film scores by John Williams or cartoon music by Carl Stalling. I've really been peeling the layers back on this concerto and discovering new things about it."

Another style question: Will the flutist dress in formal tie and tails for his big performance?

"I have not decided yet," Ellerbroek said. "Maybe I should just break the concert mold and come out looking like a rock star."

The program also has Mendelssohn's The Hebrides overture and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, with guest conductor Tito Muñoz on the podium. Concerts are at 8 p.m. Friday at Ferguson 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, military. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

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