The Florida Orchestra and Music Director Michael Francis.

“American music is on the lineup for The Florida Orchestra’s 2023-24 season,” writes Maggy Duffy in last Monday’s (4/10) Tampa Bay Times. “Music director Michael Francis was inspired by the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ so he programmed a season that highlights American composers together with masterpieces from heavyweights including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mozart. ‘It’s important to celebrate America’s own musical art form,’ Francis said in a news release. ‘…We remain passionate about reflecting the different cultures that make up Tampa Bay and beyond.’… The season kicks off Sept. 30 with … Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’ featuring the Percussion Collective and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. American composers featured in the Masterworks series include Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ [with] baritone Jubilant Sykes performing American spirituals. On Feb 17-18, 2024, it’s Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ with pieces by [American composers] Wynton Marsalis, Mason Bates and Leonard Bernstein … Notable concerts in the series include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 with Valentin Silvestrov’s ‘Prayer for Ukraine’ … Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony with John Adams’ ‘The Chairman Dances’ … The season ends with Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony … All of the Masterworks concerts will include a surprise, unlisted piece programmed by Francis.”