In the News

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Classical guitar has two new faces in Katona Twins

Peter and Zoltan Katona gave new faces to the art of the classical guitar in their concert at First Church Sunday afternoon for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota.

The gifted twins provided impressive expertise and charm to their program, which included both familiar classics by Spanish and Spanish-influenced composers and arrangements of Broadway and television favorites. Their eclectic choices were more than justified by the audience members, who were heard to whisper “wow!” several times during the program.

Mass in B Minor highlights BachFest Sarasota

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach will be all over town this weekend for BachFest Sarasota, presented by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota. The programs include “Intimate Instrumental Bach” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Church of the Redeemer, which will also be the site for Friday’s noon concert “Pipe Organ: King of Instruments.” 

Artist Series Concerts will host new music festival

Say the name: Johann Sebastian Bach. Your mind conjures visions of a man in a powdered wig with the jaunty theme of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” playing softly in the background. 

Artist Series Concerts’ season opens with a lively ‘Piano Grand II’

Lightning striking twice in the same place may be a phenomenon to most of us, but for the thousand or so people in the Sarasota Opera House Saturday night, it certainly seemed a possibility as “Piano Grand II” opened the 22nd season for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota with a repeat extravaganza of flying fingers and sumptuous Steinway sounds.

Five pianists take stage for Artist Series’ ‘Piano Grand’ concert

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota starts its 22nd season with “Piano Grand II,” the return of last year’s sold-out event. The performance features five pianists — Don Bryn, Joseph Holt, Andrew Lapp, Thomas Purviance and Jonathan Spivey — playing five grand pianos. The program will include Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien,” Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto #3,” Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” (which appeared in “Fantasia”) and Sousa marches.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents PIANO GRAND II at the Sarasota Opera House this Saturday

They're back! Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota launches its 22nd season with an exuberant reprise of "Piano Grand," a performance featuring five world-class pianists-Don Bryn, Joseph Holt, Andrew Lapp, Thomas Purviance and Jonathan Spivey-and five Steinway & Sonsconcert grand pianos. 

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces 2017-2018 Season

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota enters its 22nd season bringing a diverse selection of musical experiences to the region with a dynamic line-up of established and emerging classical, cabaret, jazz and pops artists. 

Suncoast Music Scholarships Competition Awards $22,000 to Local Students

Suncoast Music Scholarships awarded $22,000 to eight talented young musicians from Sarasota and Manatee counties to be used for music education expenses. The scholarships are a partnership between Sarasota Music Cluband Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces 2017-18 Season

Last year’s Artists Series Concerts of Sarasota season was a peripatetic one, due to construction at the organization’s usual home venue, the Historic Asolo Theater. But as managing director John Fischer points out, “that turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” as the series expanded its audience by performing elsewhere, especially at the Venice Performing Arts Center.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2017 National Competition for Piano

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents its 2017 National Competition for Piano, Saturday, April 29, at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail. The finals competition begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public but tickets are required. Tickets are available online at For more information, call 941-306-1202.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Receives Grants for Education Outreach Initiatives and Programming

John Fischer, managing director of Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, announced that organization was recently recognized for its education outreach initiatives with two significant grants. The Huisking Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded Artist Series Concerts $1,000 and the John J. Weiss Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded the organization $3,500 to be used for its educational programs.

Maria Wirries sings Cole Porter for Artist Series

There’s simply something wonderful about the music of Cole Porter, the songwriter whose urbane love songs continue to resonate with singers and audiences more than 50 years after his death.

The Songbird Returns: Maria Wirries sings Cole Porter

In 2008, Maria Wirries shook the rafters with a flawless rendition of “New York, New York” at a talent contest at the Players Theatre. Needless to say, she won. She was only 10 years old. But she already had the complete attention of the area arts community.

Sisters bring ‘Sibling Revelry’ to Artist Series

Sisters and singers Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway built something of a cult following with their 1996 Rainbow and Stars nightclub act “Sibling Revelry,” which celebrated the unique sound the they create individually and together. 

Arts groups join together to promote Festival of French Music

When he was planning the current season for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Joseph Holt knew he wanted to focus on a certain country or a genre of music. He settled on France and then discovered that other organizations were coincidentally making similar choices.

Sarasota Festival of French Music celebrates revolutionary legacy of French composers

Artistic evolution is rarely slow and steady — and it’s never in a straight line. Cultural growth is punctuated by sudden explosions. A happy (or unhappy) few creators supply the spark. Usually, just a handful of artists, musicians, writers and performers in the right place and the right time. 

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota: “Music in Literature” with the Calidore String Quartet

Music and literature are intertwined in this performance of art inspiring art. Tchaikovsky’s first string quartet reportedly brought the author Leo Tolstoy to tears; while Beethoven’s impassioned middle period writing inspired Tolystoy to pen his novella, “The Kreutzer Sonata.” In turn, Tolstoy’s novella inspired Janacek’s quartet of the same title.

Five grand pianos equal crowd pleaser

It’s been done before. Carnegie Hall and Eugene List used to present Monster Concerts featuring a multitude of pianos with lots of grand hands playing great music, from Gottschalk to Grieg. But it’s rarely been done with such finesse and fun as the Piano Grand! concert that opened the Artist Series Concerts on Sunday afternoon to a packed crowd at the Sarasota Opera House.

Five pianists team up for ‘Piano Grand’ at Sarasota Opera House

The Artist Series Concert season will begin with a five-way high-five on Oct. 9, as five world-class pianists team up with five Steinway & Sons grand pianos to bring about favorite classical works, arranged for the group.

Artist Series spreads out the season

Faced with an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity.That’s the idea behind “Music on the Move,” the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2016-2017 season, which was revealed to donors and media at a gathering at the Hotel Indigo Friday night.

From casual soiree to season series

When Lee Dougherty Ross and her husband, Jerold, moved to Sarasota more than two decades ago, they had no plans to start a new musical organization. Jerold had enjoyed a successful business career in arts management, including as the owner of a classical music radio station and a key member of the board of an opera company; Lee, who debuted with a professional symphony as a solo pianist at 12, had made a name for herself as an accomplished vocalist, appearing at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway, and internationally.

Cellist Amit Peled joins Artist Series Concerts

Israeli cellist Amit Peled joins with pianist Noreen Polera for an “Homage to Pablo Casals” for the Artists Series Concerts April 9 and 10 at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.Their program includes Faure’s Elegie; Saint-Saens’ Allegro Appassionato and Beethoven’s Variation in E-flat Major.

Akropolis Reed Quintet to perform this weekend

The Akropolis Reed Quintet will present a program of works by Debussy, Rameau and young composer Joel Puckett at two Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota this weekend. The quintet (Tim Gocklin, oboe; Kari Dion, clarinet; Matt Landry, saxophone; Andrew Koeppe, bass clarinet; and Ryan Reynolds, bassoon) was founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan and in 2014 became the first ensemble of its kind to win the Fischoff Gold Medal. 

Music Review: Artist Series Concerts 20th Anniversary

The Artist Series Concerts, a series that has graced Sarasota for two decades, set out to celebrate its 20th anniversary with an evening of varied entertainment this Memorial Day weekend at the Historic Asolo Theater.

Singers cheer 'Jerry Herman's Broadway'

Spending a couple of hours rehearsing for a “Jerry Herman’s Broadway” concert put actor and singer Jason Graae in a great mood.

Edward Alley named board president of Artist Series Concerts

After nearly 20 years, the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has two new board members: A new board president and a new board member. Begun under humble circumstances in the lobby of founders Jerold and Lee Dougherty Ross' lobby of their Lido Key condo complex, the organization has expanded to become one of the most successful classical music organizations in Sarasota. 

Adrienne Danrich to close out Artist Series Concerts season

Soprano Adrienne Danrich's tribute to the accomplishments of two opera legends, "This Little Light of Mine: The Stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price," will conclude the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota season with concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

Tsang and Neiman to present Artist Series Concerts

Cellist Bion Tsang and pianist Adam Neiman will present an Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota program at 7:30 p.m. April 18 and 19 that includes Faure's Elegie, Op. 24; Beethoven's Sonata in A Major, Op. 69; Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G minor, Op. 19; and Ponce-Heifetz's "Estrellita."

Cozy Classical: Artist Series Concerts reach 20 years of performances

In 1996, recent Wisconsin transplants Jerold and Lee Dougherty Ross began hosting soiree musicals in the lobby of their Lido Key condo. The unofficial yet intimate concerts were an offshoot of Dougherty Ross’ lifetime of music performance and study.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota expands its reach in 2014-15 season

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is expanding its reach for the 2014-15 season, with concerts planned in North Port and a weekend festival devoted entirely to the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg."We always try to do one special thing each year, which this year is the Grieg Festival," said John Fischer, executive director of the performance series.