Music director Stefan Sanderling winds up his season on the podium of the Florida Orchestra with a pair of sonic blockbusters, new and old: John Adams' Doctor Atomic Symphony, a three-movement suite drawn from the composer's 2005 opera on American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team that developed the atomic bomb during World War II; and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, the Romantic, which may be his most popular symphony.
During Sanderling's tenure, the orchestra has programmed more music by Bruckner, the 19th century Austrian symphonist, than Adams, the pre-eminent living American composer. The last time the orchestra played a big Adams work was 2002, when guest conductor Michael Christie led performances of Harmonielehre.
Last Saturday, Sanderling led his other orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, in a performance at Carnegie Hall, part of the Spring for Music festival that invites orchestras to participate on the basis of their imaginative programming. He paired Shostakovich's Sixth Symphony with Andre Previn's Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, a musical theater piece with text by playwright Tom Stoppard.
"In all, the evening was a genuine coup for the orchestra and its gifted conductor,'' wrote James R. Oestreich in his review for the New York Times.
The Florida Orchestra's concerts 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. $20-$67, with students tickets for $10. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.