Sarasota Orchestra Welcomes Guest Conductors for the Coming Season

Conductors from around the country and the globe will lead the orchestra in concerts featuring Mozart, Mahler, Dvorak and more.

By Kay Kipling June 4, 2019

Seattle Symphony conductor laureate Gerard Schwarz

The Sarasota Orchestra’s 2019-20 season will tune up starting in September with performances from two of its five concert series, but perhaps the biggest excitement will center on the nine guest conductors visiting town following the departure of music director Anu Tali. Some of those conductors are in the running to replace her, but audiences won’t necessarily know which ones.

That shouldn’t keep them from enjoying the new faces at the podium. Among them: Seattle Symphony conductor laureate Gerard Schwarz, who leads off the Masterworks Series Nov. 8, 9 and 10 with guest pianist Lise de la Salle. On the program are R. Strauss’ Don Juan, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6.

He’s followed by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director JoAnn Falletta (with guest violinist Alexi Kenney), who conducts Elgar’s In the South, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Roman Festivals, Dec. 6, 7 and 8. Then Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra music director Steven Sloane leads the orchestra, and guest pianist Shai Wosner, on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (The Titan), Jan. 17, 18 and 19.

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra music director Steven Sloane

"Chang Plays Dvorak," featuring violinist Sarah Chang on the composer’s Violin Concerto, also offers works by Debussy and Janacek, Jan. 30, 31, Feb. 1 and 2, as Seattle Symphony music director Ludovic Morlot takes the podium. Cellist Joshua Roman and violinist Simone Porter are conducted by BBC Concert Orchestra principal conductor Bramwell Tovey, Feb. 21, 22 and 23, on works by Berlioz, Brahms and Walton (Symphony No. 1).

Masterworks welcomes Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Keith Lockhart and acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk March 12, 13, 14 and 15, as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra are program highlights. And Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams joins guest violinist Blake Pouliot and the orchestra for Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and Copland’s Symphony No. 3, April 3, 4 and 5.

Guest conductors also take the lead in the Discover Beethoven Series, bookending the Masterworks season with performances Sept. 28 and 29 (Grand Rapids Symphony music director Marcelo Lehninger) and May 2 and 3 (Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra music director David Danzmayr).

Grand Rapids Symphony music director Marcelo Lehninger

In addition, the season’s Pops Series highlights music from the stage and screen, starting in January; the Chamber Series commences Sept. 12 and continues through April 19; and the Great Escapes Series offers pops and light classics with commentary by the conductors, October through March. And a special mid-season concert explores the work of Beethoven with Sarasota Music Festival Director Jeffrey Kahane, including a performance of the composer’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) on Feb. 6.

Subscriptions are on sale now; single concert tickets go on sale to the public in September. For complete ticket and schedule information, go to

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