Spring Arts 2006

What to Watch For

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The Turnage of the Screw? The Florida Orchestra programs the work of a composer who is not only still living but was probably born after your parents. Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Three Screaming Popes" takes fellow Brit Francis Bacon's series of disappearing-reappearing painted Popes as the departure for a restless, anguished work. The 1989 piece joins American composer William Shuman's 1956 "New England Triptych" and Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony on a program conducted by Stefan Sanderling. Feb. 18, Pasadena Community Church, St. Petersburg, 813-286-2403; Feb. 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 727-791-7400; Feb. 20, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, 813-229-STAR.

The Old Man and the Sea: When Benjamin Britten wrote Peter Grimes in the early 1940s, he set the standard for a new psychology-driven opera. Caught between sea and society, the misfit fisherman Peter Grimes finally goes off the deep end. Because Britten's depictions of the sea here are too good to be bottled up in the opera house, they've since been extracted for the concert hall. The "Four Sea Interludes" from Peter Grimes appear at a Florida West Coast Symphony Concert conducted by Leif Bjaland, along with the Sibelius 5th Symphony and 23-year-old violinist Karen Gomyo's take on Prokofiev's first violin concerto. March 9-12, Van Wezel Hall, Sarasota, 941-953-3368.

Bronfman plays Tchaikovsky: Yefim Bronfman is the second of the rampaging piano virtuosi this season. He appears with the Russian National Orchestra in the Van Wezel's Great Orchestras series, which features some astonishing "gets" in old-fashioned repertoire. Bronfman, an Uzbekistan-born pianist known for prodigious technique and thoughtful musicianship, takes on the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto in a program that also includes Tchaikovsky's "Manfred" Symphony, a tone painting of Lord Byron's romantic wanderer. March 13, Van Wezel Hall, Sarasota, 941-953-3368.

Cliburn in the flesh: Van Cliburn looms in the American imagination as the 23-year-old who won the First International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in the depths of the Cold War. He had a ticker-tape parade in New York and appeared on the cover of Time as "The Texan Who Conquered Russia." Now an old-timer, he returns to play Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto, the work he rode to greatness. March 16, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, 813-229-STAR.

Still More Ivory Magic: The Florida West Coast Symphony and conductor Leif Bjaland appear with André Watts, another mega-pianist who rode the Romantic repertory to celebrity, then had nowhere else to go. At 16, he performed the Liszt first piano concerto with Leonard Bernstein on a nationally broadcast concert. In Sarasota, he'll plays Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, a work of amazing majesty. Afterward, the orchestra takes over with a performance of Anton Bruckner's Symphony #7. March 30 and April 1-2, Van Wezel Hall, Sarasota, 941-953-3368.

Obscure Dvorák, Part Deux: In November, the Florida Orchestra and Master Chorale brought us the Dvorák "Requiem," one of the Czech master's few rarely performed major works. In April, the orchestra unveils another, the piano concerto. If the concerto needs an advocate, it has an unbeatable one here in Garrick Ohlsson, mega-pianist No. 5. April 29, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, 727-892-5767; April 30, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 727-791-7400; May 1, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, 813-229-STAR.

Brought to You by the Number 5: Maestro Stefan and the Florida Orchestra appear in four works with little in common but the numeral 5: Webern's "5 Pieces for Orchestra," Beethoven's Symphony #5, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto #5, and the very rarely performed Symphony #5 by Arthur Honegger, member of Les Six. The burgeoning 26-year-old pianist Stewart Goodyear takes on the Prokofiev, a fantastic and difficult divertimento. May 25, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 727-791-7400; May 26, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa 813-229-STAR; May 27, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, 727-892-5767.

Travis Wilds

Blueground Undergrass: The popular, heavily Aquarium Rescue Unit-indebted (leader Rev. Jeff Mosier actually played briefly with ARU) bluegrass/newgrass/jam combo stops by the Skipperdome. Go buy your tickets now, before you get stoned and forget until the day of the show. Feb. 3, Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, 813-971-0666.

The Hold Steady: The innovative mix of swaggering, infectious bar-rock and imaginative lyrical storytelling on this New York act's sophomore release, Separation Sunday, helped land it on nearly every hip rock critic's Top 10 for '05. The band rarely makes it this far south, so expect dedicated scenesters to hit the road and try to take in as many of The Hold Steady's Florida shows as possible. Feb. 9, Masquerade, Ybor City, 813-247-3319.

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