The Florida Orchestra and Music Director Michael Francis in performance. Photo by JM Lennon/The Florida Orchestra.

In Tuesday’s (11/14) Tampa Bay Times, Michelle Stark writes, “The Florida Orchestra was gathered at the Mahaffey Theater in September for a rehearsal of its first official concert of the season … As the music director of Florida’s largest professional orchestra, Michael Francis was prepared…. This was the group’s first time gathering to practice for the 2023-24 season, and it’s kind of like the first day of school…. This is one of just four rehearsals leading up to the orchestra’s 56th season that runs through the end of May and will feature more than 120 concerts and 300 different works. There are the Masterworks shows … plus shows that feature film scores, Broadway music, rock songs and mashups like last month’s Tchaikovsky and Drake concert. It’s a big year for the organization, which features 71 full-time professional musicians and conductors … They welcomed a new president and CEO over the summer, 36-year-old Ignacio Barron Viela. They’ve also added nine new musicians, including the first new principal bass player in nearly 50 years. In many ways, this year marks a true return to form after the pandemic curtailed the performing arts in 2020…. ‘We want music that’s appealing to our community, that reflects the time in which we live,’ said Francis.”