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South Florida Symphony Orchestra's 25th Anniversary Season Continues With A World Premiere And Great Opera Arias

Led by Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso with guest soloists Catalina Cuervo, soprano and Gerardo Ortega, tenor.

South Florida Symphony Orchestra's 25th Anniversary Season Continues With A World Premiere And Great Opera Arias

South Florida Symphony Orchestra's (SFSO) 25th anniversary season continues to shine with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9, the world premiere of Ocklawaha by composer-in-residence John Gottsch, and a selection of great opera arias from Puccini, Verdi, and Lara.

Led by Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso with guest soloists Catalina Cuervo, soprano and Gerardo Ortega, tenor, the Masterworks programs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., respectively, on January 24 at New World Center in Miami Beach, on January 25 at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale, and on January 26, opening the season at Tennessee Williams Theatre at The College of the Florida Keys in Key West.

"This rich and varied program aims to take our audiences on a musical journey," said Alfonso. "Shostakovich opposed a totalitarian regime in his time delivering a neo-classical work that was considered more of a rebuke than a celebration of ultimate strength and power. His Ninth Symphony certainly resonates with what is presently happening in Ukraine, today. And, in Gottsch's latest, he similarly reflects on the plight and culture of Native Americans. Finally, who can resist the sheer power of some of the world's most beloved arias?"

Originally intended to be to a grandiose piece that would glorify Stalin's regime and Russian victory over the Nazis in 1945, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 rendered a more complex, thoughtful and sometimes carefree composition. The composer was known for his resistance to the Soviet rule and his subversion tactics often promising to compose the piece the regime wanted while actually giving it something else.

SFSO's composer-in-residence John Gottsch will present the world premiere of Ocklawaha. The Ocklawaha is a river originating in the lakes of central Florida and flowing north through some of the most mysterious, wild, and breathtakingly beautiful parts of the state. As a young boy, the composer traveled the Ocklawaha with his father, learning the history of the river and surrounding lakes, that brought to life on passing shores, the escaped slaves, Seminole warriors, and a Civil War battle. The musical narrative brings to life the storied struggles of Florida's Native American ancestors through thoughtfully arranged orchestral movements.

John D. Gottsch was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and moved to Florida with his family, shortly thereafter. He spent his youth in the lake country of the Sunshine State traveling extensively and observing natural habitats. These explorations of Florida gave him an enduring love for its beauty and wildlife. He has been a lifelong composer and a number of his compositions reflect his deep appreciation of the outdoors. Last year, SFSO premiered the live performance of Gottsch's original composition Princess Yurievskaya, and in 2020, SFSO premiered Sunset, both of which were featured on Gottsch's 2020 debut album released by Naxos Records, the world's leading classical music label. SFSO also performed Gottsch's Bagatelles for Violin & Piano as part of its Summer With the Symphony Series in June 2021. His piano suite, Homosassa, premiered in Palm Beach in 2020. His piano quintet, Maryland Hunt, premiered at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington, DC in 2018 and has been performed in Philadelphia, Vienna, Rotterdam and Baltimore. Gottsch, a full-time doctor, now splits his time between Baltimore and Key West.

In addition, the program includes with a selection of great opera arias performed by Catalina Cuervo, soprano, and Gerardo Ortega, tenor - Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro," "Un Bel Dì, Vedremo," and "O Soave Fanciulla," Agustín Lara's "Granada," Verdi's "La Donna è Mobile" and "Brindisi" (The Drinking Song from La Traviata).

"We are thrilled to bring these masterful works to our audiences," said Jacqueline Lorber, president and CEO of South Florida Symphony Orchestra. "Coming off a sold-out holiday Messiah performance at The Parker, we're energized to perform these pieces at our new home at Miami Beach's renowned New World Center and we look forward to opening our season at the iconic Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West where the Symphony first formed."

Upcoming SFSO concerts include Brahms, Sibelius and Berlioz on February 15 and 18, an all Dvořák program on March 22, 23 and 25 and season closer Rachmaninoff and Bruckner on April 26.

Tickets for the Masterworks II program start at $15 for The Parker and $25 for New World Center and Tennessee Williams Theatre at The College of the Florida Keys. Season subscriptions are on sale, now, for performances at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, opening on January 28. Tickets may be purchased by visiting southfloridasymphony.org/2022-23-season or by calling (954) 522-8445.



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