"Piano Grand III" will feature 10 keyboard artists in the season opener.

Image: Barbara Banks

Artists Series Concerts of Sarasota opens its 2018-2019 season by doubling the fun of last year’s sellout “Piano Grand” concert. Instead of presenting five pianists tickling the ivories of five grand concert pianos on the Sarasota Opera House stage, 10—count ’em, 10—musicians will collaborate and maybe even compete a bit during the Oct. 6 “Piano Grand III” concert.

The concert series enters its 23rd season with an “Eyes to the Future” theme, promising, says managing director John Fischer, that “As we plan for our milestone 25th anniversary and seasons beyond, our aim is to keep pace with the expectations of present and future audiences,” while offering a range of classical, jazz and pops concerts in several formats.

In the classical season, the duo of baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan performs “Armistice: The Journey Home,” inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and telling the story of men and women who must find their way back home (Nov. 3 and 4). Spanish castanet virtuoso Carmen de Vicente salutes Hispanic Heritage Month with guitarist Erol Ozsever and pianist Joseph Holt, Nov. 6. Then the quintet Seraph Brass, drawing from a roster of America’s top female brass players, rings in the holiday season Dec. 15 and 16 with some classical brass sounds.

Pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine and narrator Edward Alley team for “Images,” a multimedia performance Jan. 12 and 13; Sarasota Orchestra musicians Daniel Jordan and Natalie Helm are joined by pianist Holt on Brahms’ B Major Piano Trio (Jan. 24); Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal harpist Emmanuel Ceysson delivers a virtual musical history of the instrument (Feb. 2); cellist Amit Peled returns to town with fellow trio members pianist Alon Goldstein and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein (April 6 and 7); and an afternoon of operetta highlights works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Franz von Suppé and Jacques Offenbach (May 12).

Harpist Emmanuel Ceysson

Image: JC Husson

On the pops side of things, twin tenors Will and Anthony Nunziata pay an encore visit, performing “Soundtrack: The Music of Our Lives” (Dec. 2). That’s followed by the ever updated spoof of Broadway musicals, Forbidden Broadway (Jan. 27), and Melodica Men, featuring two musicians at work on the melodica, a toy instrument that’s half keyboard, half harmonica (Feb. 19).

Russian folk music and dance fans will enjoy the Balalaika Duo of Elena Karokhina and Mikhail Smirnov (Feb. 28). Father-and-sons vocal quartet My Three Sons performs March 7, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman joins with his son, pianist Peter John Stoltzman, to pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein, March 9 and 10. Closing out the pops half of the season will be the Stan Kenton All Star Big Band, March 17.

Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman

The series’ Soiree and Lunch & Listen offerings are also back this season. For a complete schedule and ticket info, call 306-1202 or visit artistseriesconcerts.org.

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