Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces 2017-18 Season

A mix of classical, pops, jazz and cabaret highlights the season, dubbed "In Focus."

By Kay Kipling May 16, 2017

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Violinist Bella Hristova


Last year’s Artists Series Concerts of Sarasota season was a peripatetic one, due to construction at the organization’s usual home venue, the Historic Asolo Theater. But as managing director John Fischer points out, “that turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” as the series expanded its audience by performing elsewhere, especially at the Venice Performing Arts Center.

So it’s no wonder that the just-announced 2017-18 season will take its cue from that success, returning for many of its 41 scheduled performances to the Historic Asolo but also spreading its blend of classical, cabaret, jazz and pops artists to other venues. The coming season will also feature a Bach festival: five days devoted to the work of Johann Sebastian Bach, tied to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. A Lutheran, Bach was considered one of the greatest of the Reformation composers.

But in addition to classical sounds, there’s tango, jazz, holiday music, ragtime, Hollywood film score excerpts and more in the season, which begins Oct. 7 at the Sarasota Opera House with “Piano Grand II,” featuring five world-class pianists (Don Bryn, Artist Series artistic director Joseph Holt, Andrew Lapp, Thomas Purviance and Jonathan Spivey) on five Steinway & Sons grand pianos. Here’s a peek at the full line-up.

Classical recitals include “Literature in Music” with the Calidore String Quartet, Oct. 28 and 29 (Historic Asolo Theater); the performances for BachFest Sarasota, Nov. 16, 17, 18 and 19 at Church of the Redeemer, with a Nov. 17 “Bach to the Future” concert Nov. 17 at the Historic Asolo. Classical music will also be highlighted in a Young Concert Artists International performance welcoming violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Amy Yang, Jan. 21 at Faith Lutheran Church; in the mix of global jazz and “exotic” chamber music with Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, Feb. 25 at Venice Performing Arts Center; and another Young Concert Artists International recital featuring clarinetist Narek Arutyunian and pianist Steven Beck, March 4 at Faith Lutheran.

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The Calidore String Quartet


Canadian jazz vocalist June Garber returns to celebrate “Cool Yule: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald,” accompanied by eight singers from Choral Artists of Sarasota and a trio of jazz musicians (Dec. 16 and 17 at the Historic Asolo Theater); followed by Latin Grammy winner Pablo Ziegler and his Quartet for New Tango (Jan. 28 at VPAC); “The King of Ragtime Writers: Scott Joplin” with pianist Richard Dowling (Feb. 10 and 11 at the Historic Asolo); “The Celluloid Guitar” with the Katona Twins, Peter and Zoltan, performing a movie-themed repertoire (Feb. 18 at First Church); “From Broadway to Hollywood” with pianist Richard Glazier tickling the ivories to tunes from West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and more (March 17 and 18 at Historic Asolo); and “Broadway Our Way,” welcoming tenors Willi and Anthony Nunziata (March 25 at VPAC).

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Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica


The Rastrelli Cello Quartet will entertain with “James Bond in Cello Case,” featuring soundtrack music from Casino Royale, Moonraker and other Bond films (April 28 and 29, Historic Asolo); Choral Artists of Sarasota, with guest soloists Jennifer Sheehan and Tad Czyzwewski, offer more movie songs, from the likes of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald (May 13, Sarasota Opera House); and it’s a patriotic mood for “Hurray for the Red, White & Blue,” featuring the Capital Brass Quintet with baritone Bob McDonald (May 19 and 20 at the Historic Asolo Theater).

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The Rastrelli Cello Quartet


In addition, the Artist Series presents Lunch & Listen concerts at Michael’s On East Ballroom and Plantation Golf and Country Club; a Soiree Series at the Fischer/Wisenborne home; and other special events this season. For tickets and full details, call (941) 306-1202 or check


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