I’m back in Jacksonville, settling into a new apartment and getting ready for the beginning of the season, which is fast approaching. It’s my first experience of the city in late summer, and as I write this a thrilling thunderstorm is pelting rain against the windows as lightning bolts dart across the sky above the St. Johns River.
Hopefully by now you’ve seen the Jacksonville Symphony’s new logo. I’m really excited about it. It’s amazing how something as simple as a logo can change one’s impression of an organization. For me, ours captures a sense of artistic energy and innovation alongside elegance and poise. That’s exactly what the Jacksonville Symphony is all about: presenting great music in a way that inspires our community, whether in Jacoby Hall, Unity Plaza, an amphitheater or an elementary school classroom.
In October we are launching a new website. It’s going to be a great way to engage with what’s happening at the symphony. This week I’m filming video introductions to each of our Masterworks concerts. Each clip will contain information about the composers and the circumstances in which they wrote their music. It’s also a chance for me to talk about what I love in each piece. If you’re unsure about which concerts you’d like to attend next season, these videos will be a great place to start.
Over the past couple of days, several people have asked me what they should come to hear at the symphony. Of course, I’m excited about every concert, and if you come to all ten Masterworks programs, you’re going to hear an incredible range of music and artists. But if you’re thinking of what you can squeeze into a busy schedule, I would encourage — even dare — you to step outside your comfort zone. If you love the classics, try a concert with Stravinsky or Adès. If you enjoy Pops, give John Adams and Gustav Holst a shot during our season opening. Or if you don’t think classical music is for you, come to Symphony in 60, our new series of short Thursday night concerts that you can enjoy with a cocktail. You might just be pleasantly surprised. Or inspired. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
Reprinted with kind permission from the Florida Times-Union.