Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 5th September 2018

The Florida Orchestra has prepared a 51st season with a wide range of grand masters and newer work, an increased visibility for minorities and women and more collaborations with museums and other artistic institutions.

Masterworks highlights include the opening, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (the first time since 2010), Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa, who played Rachmaninoff in music director Michael Francis’ debut in 2015. The array of concerts includes Joseph Hayden’s The Creation and Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, both with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets, with the Master Chorale’s Women’s Choir. The Florida Holocaust Museum has partnered with the orchestra for A Child of Our Time, in memory of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

On the heels of composer Michael Ippolito’s commission of Triptych, the orchestra with personal backing from Francis and his wife Cindy are commissioning a new work by University of South Florida composer and electronic music professor Baljinder Sekhon. Soloists this season include 26-year-old British sensation Benjamin Grosvenor playing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, violinist Esther Yoo in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Joshua Roman playing Mason Bates’ Cello Concerto, a piece Bates composed specifically for him.