Prepping a Winter Concert Season

THE EXCITEMENT OF PREPPING A WINTER CONCERT SEASON FOR AN ORCHESTRA used to be something that engulfed me around this time every year. Thus, it was 40 years ago that as the newly hired manager of the Florida Philharmonic in Miami I was deeply involved in its resurgence as the leading regional symphony orchestra over the next three years. In a palpable sense, the wonder of it all is encapsulated in a half-minute video broadcast featuring the orchestra with myself at the keyboard just before the beginning of the 1978-79 Winter Season Concerts. Let me explain…..

At the time, I was much into George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F that he completed a year after his celebrated Rhapsody in Blue. It was commissioned by the New York Symphony Society, which introduced it under the direction of Walter Damrosch, with the composer as soloist, on December 3, 1925. As the new General Manager and a concert pianist to boot, I was persuaded by my British Music Director, Brian Priestman, to be a part of the musical ad by performing the opening of the concerto’s last movement, Allegro agitato, that starts with an ebullient orchestral eruption of color and percussive piano rhythm.

Postscript:

My 3-year stint included the hiring of some boldfaced names in the classical – and jazz – fields of music. Here’s the complete listing of the artists I booked during my tenure:

FPO PERFORMING ARTISTS:1978-81
Salvatore Accardo
Guido Ajmone-Marsans
Antonio de Almeida
Virginia Alonso
Claudio Arrau
 Arroyo, Cortez, Cresinski
PDQ Bach
Hristian Badea
Rudolf Burshai
Nina Beilina
Boris Belkin
Bob Berry
Lazar Berman
Dietfriend Bernet
Diane Bish
Stephen Bishop-Kovachevick
Felicja Blumental
Jorge Bolet
Victor Borge –  March 12, 1980
Salvatore Accardo
Guido Ajmone-Marsans
Antonio de Almeida
Virginia Alonso
Claudio Arrau
Arroyo, Cortez, Cresinski
PDQ Bach
Hristian Badea
Rudolf Burshai
Nina Beilina
Boris Belkin
Bob Berry
Lazar Berman
Dietfriend Bernet
Diane Bish
Stephen Bishop-Kovachevick
Felicja Blumental
Jorge Bolet
Victor Borge, March 12, 1980
William Brown
Richard Buckley
Shura Cherkassky
James Conlon
Bella Davidovich
Ian Davis
Mischa  Dichter
Eva Dobrowska
Dukes of Dixieland
Youri Egorov
Sixten Ehrling
Harold Faberman
Annie Fischer
Leon Fleisher
Maureen Forrester
Fort Lauderdale Symphony Chorus
Rudolf FIrkusny
Nicolai Gedda
Harold Gomberg
Slim Goodbody Kinder
Benny Goodman / Summer Pops 1980 Marine Stadium
Jose Greco / Nana Lorca
Erich Gruenberg
Gene Gutche
Lynn Harrell
Richard Hayman / Pops Conductor Summer Pops Series 1980 Marine Stadium
Hutch Henderson Program
Esther Hinds
Hiroyuki Iwaki
Isaiah Jackson
Joseph Kalichstein
Kenneth Klein
Kostelanetz
Yuri Krasnapolsky
Erich Kunzel – Christmas Concert
Douglas Lawrence
Jacques Leiser
Shari Lewis  -Kinder / Concert
Victoria de los Angeles
Radu Lupu
Richard McKee
Bob McGrath & Family
Marian McPartland|
Robert Mandell
– Salute to America
– Musical Happenings
Messiah
Thomas Michalak
Sherrill Milnes|
Kipnis Ming
Zara Nelsova
Peter Nero
Garrick Ohlsson
Michael Palmer
Edith Peinemann
Maurice Peress
Pickwick Puppers / Don Quixote Musical Happening
Brian Priestman
Florence Quivar
Jean-Pierre Rampal
Ruggerio Ricci
Richard Rodgers Tribute, Summer Pop Series, Marine Stadium 1980; Marni Nixon
Aaron Rostand
Leonard Rose
Andre-Michel Schub
Neil Sedaka
/ Summer Pop Series 1980 Miami Marine Stadium
Jose Serebrier
Doc Serverinsen Summer Pop Series 1980 Miami Marine Stadium
Kenneth Schermerhorn
Maxim Shostakovich
Murry Sidling
Stanislaw Skorwaczewksi
Lawrence Leighton Smith
Grigory Sokolov
Janos Starker
Richard Stoltzman
Adrian Sunshine
Henryk Szerying
Charles Treger|
Barry Truckwell
Uto-Ughi – Violinist
Tamas Vasary
Andre Watts
Alexis Weissenberg
Earl Wild
Ransom Wilson
Beverly Wolff
Yo-Yo-Ma – Cellist
Richard Zeller


References: My Diary

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