Florida Orchestra extends canceled shows through May 10

There remains some hope the orchestra could close out the 2019-20 season.
The Florida Orchestra's music director, Michael Francis, conducts a rehearsal at the Mahaffey Theater on March 4, 2020.
The Florida Orchestra's music director, Michael Francis, conducts a rehearsal at the Mahaffey Theater on March 4, 2020. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published April 3, 2020

Three weeks after pressing pause on its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus, the Florida Orchestra has announced it will suspend all performances through at least May 10.

That includes performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (Friday-Sunday), a Masterworks program by Beethoven and Paganini (April 17-19), an Electric Light Orchestra tribute (April 24), a Prohibition-era jazz concert (April 25-26), a much-anticipated performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (May 1-3) and spring Pops in the Park concerts (May 9-10). It also includes several coffee concerts and side appearances around Tampa Bay.

The orchestra’s board of directors on Friday voted to continue paying performers through at least May 10, and expects to continue paying them through the end of the season in late May.

“For now, TFO musicians are extremely grateful and relieved that we have such a courageous and compassionate board,” principal flute Clay Ellerbroek, chair of the Orchestra Committee, said in a statement. “This is a lifeline for us. For many, TFO is our only income.”

Related: 'Believe in the pencil': At the Florida Orchestra, the music's in the margins

The orchestra is offering gift certificates and exchanges for canceled concerts, but is encouraging ticketholders to support the orchestra by allowing their purchases to become donations. Click here for details.

While live performances are on hold, the orchestra is broadcasting archive recordings of its Masterworks programs at 7 p.m. every Thursday via WSMR-89.1 and 103.9 FM, and online at The programs are archived for several weeks online.

Musicians have been turning to social media to share performances from home, including concertmaster Jeffrey Multer, trombonist Ross Holcombe and trumpeter Robert Smith and cellist Laura McKey Smith.

Music director Michael Francis, too, has taken to YouTube, delivering mini versions of his pre-concert lectures about the performances that air on the radio.

For more on how the coronavirus is impacting the Florida Orchestra, click here.

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