Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces its 2018-2019 Season: “With Eyes to the Future”

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Announces its

2018-2019 Season:

“With Eyes to the Future”

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents its 23rd season, another enticing potpourri of classical and pops concerts, chamber soirées, a luncheon series, and a dinner concert. Highlights include Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, renowned castanet artist Carmen de Vicente, a 17-piece big band orchestra performing the hits of Stan Kenton and the return of Piano Grand – ten pianists performing on five Steinway concert grand pianos.

 (Sarasota-Manatee, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota enters its 23rd season of bringing unique and diverse musical experiences to the region with a dynamic and international array of both established and emerging classical, jazz and pops artists. The season, which runs September 2018 through May 2019, features 29 performances at a variety of venues throughout Sarasota and Venice. Concerts cover a wide range of musical offerings, including classical recitals, pops, jazz and cabaret concerts, chamber soirées, the popular Lunch & Listen series and even a dinner concert.  

"Our theme this season is ‘With Eyes to the Future,’” says John Fischer, managing director of Artist Series Concerts. “As we plan for our milestone 25th anniversary and seasons beyond, our aim is to keep pace with the expectations of present and future audiences by continuing to offer a wide range of the unique and high-quality performances that have become our hallmark.”

            For artistic director Dr. Joseph Holt, the upcoming 23rd season does just that. “In addition to the return of such perennial favorites as “Piano Grand,” the Nunziata twins, and baritone John Brancy, many of our concerts this season will also introduce audiences to new artists, new instruments and new interpretations of well-known music,” says Holt. ”Where else can you experience a world-renowned castanet artist, the principal harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the zany yet incredibly virtuosic antics of the Melodica Men, and a world-class pianist who combines animated film with his own critically acclaimed transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite? Add to that mix some Russian folk music and dance, an award-winning barbershop quartet and big band jazz played by some of the best musical performers from our community and around the globe, and you’ve got something for everyone!”

Holt adds that Artist Series Concerts will continue to collaborate with the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL), with musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra, the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and Choral Artists of Sarasota. “These creative partnerships expand the diversity of our programming and our outreach into the community.”

John Fischer, Artist Series Concerts’ managing director, notes that in addition to concerts at its home venues in Sarasota, the organization also continues to expand its presence in Venice. “Our first luncheon concerts at the Plantation Golf & Country Club last season were very popular so this season we’ve added a dinner concert there as well.”

The 2018-19 season opens with “Piano Grand III,” October 6 at the Sarasota Opera House. A reprise of last season’s sell-out concert, this year’s version boasts double the number of musicians, with ten world-class pianists tickling the ivories of five concert grand pianos commanding the Opera House stage. “It’s going to be another exciting concert with 100 flying fingers creating quite a caressing cacophony of sound!” says Holt.

Highlights of the classical recital season include the acclaimed duo of baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan performing “Armistice: The Journey Home,” their program inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that tells the story of men and women who must find their way back home, literally and figuratively (November 3, 4); Spanish castanet virtuoso Carmen de Vicente in a musical salute to Hispanic Heritage Month with guitarist Erol Ozsever  and pianist Joseph Holt (November 6); classical holiday brass sounds with Seraph Brass, a dynamic quintet drawing from a roster of America’s top female brass players (December 15, 16); “Images,” a multi-media, classical music performance with acclaimed pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine and narrator Edward Alley (January 12, 13);  Sarasota Orchestra musicians Daniel Jordan and Natalie Helm with Joseph Holt, piano, performing Brahms’ B Major Piano Trio (January 24); “Harp throb” and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, performing a virtual musical history of the harp (February 2); the return of cellist extraordinaire Amit Peled with the Goldstein/Peled/Fiterstein Trio, featuring Peled, pianist Alon Goldstein and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein (April 6, 7); and “An Afternoon of Operetta,”highlighting works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Franz von Suppé and Jacques Offenbach (May 12).

Pops highlights include the return of twin tenors Will and Anthony Nunziata performing “Soundtrack: The Music of Our Lives” (December 2); “Forbidden Broadway,” the ever-evolving spoof of Broadway musicals (January 27); Melodica Men, two classically trained virtuosos who have taken the internet by storm with their masterful performances of classical hits on the melodica, a toy instrument that’s half keyboard, half harmonica and deceptively challenging to play (February 19); Russian folk music and dance with the Balalaika duo of Elena Karokhina and Mikhail Smirnov (February 28); the award winning father and sons vocal quartet My Three Sons (March 7); renowned clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and his son, pianist Peter John Stoltzman, paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein (March 9, 10); and the Stan Kenton All Star Big Band (March 17). (A full season listing is included below.)

Artist Series Concert’s popular “Soirée” and “Lunch & Listen” series are also back this season with six Soirée performances presented in area residences, and an expanded Lunch & Listen schedule that features four performances at Michael’s On East and two in Venice at The Plantation Golf & Country Club, plus a dinner concert also at the Plantation Golf & Country Club.

Tickets for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2018-2019 season are available now by mail and by phone. Tickets will be available online starting July 15. Visit for the full schedule and season order forms. For more information, call 941-306-1202.


Artist Series Concerts’ 2018-2019 23rd Season at a Glance

Classical Recitals

(Check individual listings for dates, times, and venue.)

·        “Armistice: The Journey Home” with John Brancy, baritone, and Peter Dugan, piano: Rising opera star John Brancy and his longtime collaborator, acclaimed pianist Peter Dugan, have cultivated their very own critically acclaimed approach to art song, encompassing everything from beloved classic works from the 19th century to modern popular music and original arrangements of American song. Brancy and Dugan return to Sarasota to perform “Armistice: The Journey Home,” their exploration of the timeless themes of longing, loss, love, and the search for peace. The program, which debuted at Alice Tully Hall in April 2018, is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI and includes a wide range of classic works by Schubert, Rachmaninoff, and Holst, as well as Vaughn Williams’ “Songs of Travel” and Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” November 3, 7:30 p.m., and November 4, 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

·        “Classical Holiday Brass,” with Seraph Brass Quintet: Seraph Brass is a dynamic brass quintet drawing from a roster of America’s top female brass players. In addition to touring throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe, many members of Seraph Brass performed with Adele on her 2016 North American Tour. The quintet welcomes the holidays with a lively and varied program of familiar holiday classics and popular song, including “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” concerti, Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” “Bells of Christmas Suite,” Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and more. December 15, 7:30 p.m., and December 16, 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

·        “Images: Who Stole the Mona Lisa?” with Alexandre Moutouzkine, piano, and Edward Alley, narrator: Hailed by critics as an artist “poised to join the greats,” award-winning pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine performs his own solo piano transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite as the score to Micah Chambers-Goldberg’s short animated film “Who Stole the Mona Lisa,” a fantastical story based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, in which the Firebird herself is involved in the theft. The concert also features Poulenc’s “The Story of Babar,” with Edward Alley reading aloud Jean de Brunhoff’s classic tale to the accompaniment of Poulenc’s incidental piano music, played by Moutouzkine. Moutouzkine tops the program off with Mussorgsky’s masterpiece, “Pictures at an Exhibition.” January 12, 7:30 p.m., and January 13, 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

·        “Principal Harp” featuring Emmanuel Ceysson, principal harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra: Hailed by critics as the “enfant terrible” of the harp, young virtuoso Emmanuel Ceysson rocked the classical music world in 2015 when he was chosen for the coveted position of principal harpist for the renowned Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, after nine years as principal harpist for the Opéra National de Paris. Ceysson’s program is a virtual musical history of the harp, featuring works by Bach, Spohr, Schumann, Glinka, Liszt, Fauré and Debussy. February 2, 7:30 p.m. at Holley Hall / Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

·        “Classical Trios” with the Goldstein/Peled/Fiterstein Trio: Bound by their Israeli roots and summers shared in Vermont at the Marlboro Music Festival, pianist Alon Goldstein, cellist Amit Peled and clarinetist Alex Fiterstein formed the Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio in 2005. Today, the ensemble’s performances reflect both the special gifts and originality of the three artists as soloists as well as their marvelous sense of ensemble and love of chamber music.  The trio showcases the attributes of this unusual ensemble of piano, cello and clarinet with a program of works by Beethoven, Scarlatti, Debussy, Bloch and Zemlinsky. April 6, 7:30 p.m. and April 7, 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

·        “An Afternoon of Operetta:” For over two centuries, operetta has delighted audiences worldwide. This production, featuring soloists, chorus and instrumentalists, will showcase works by composers whose names are synonymous with operetta: Gilbert and Sullivan (“Pirates of Penzance”), Jacques Offenbach (“La Belle Hélène, “Orpheus in the Underworld,” “The Tales of Hoffman”), and Franz von Suppé (“Poet and Peasant,” “Light Cavalry”). May 12, 4:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

Pops and Special Performances

(Check individual listings for dates, times, and venue.)

·        "Piano Grand III!” Piano Grand is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever! Five Steinway concert grand pianos direct from New York will command the Opera House stage together with not five, but ten renowned pianists performing an all-new program of familiar classics and popular songs, including Bernstein’s overture to “Candide,” the “Blue Danube Waltz,” “1812 Overture,” “Carousel Waltz,” and more. October 6, 4:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.

·        “Soundtrack: The Music of Our Lives!” with Will and Anthony Nunziata: Internationally acclaimed twin tenors Will and Anthony Nunziata return to Sarasota with fresh takes on the classic soundtracks that have captivated and inspired generations of music lovers. Included in the mix are Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Valli, Billy Joel, Nat King Cole, the Righteous Brothers, Etta James, Adele and many more. December 2, 4:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.

·        “Forbidden Broadway:” Direct from New York, four costumed entertainers skewer the biggest names of the Broadway stage with top-flight singing and spot-on impersonations. This acclaimed spoof takes on such timeless Broadway hits as “Les Miz,” “Cats,” “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and many more. January 27, 3:00 p.m., at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.

·        “Celebrating Bernstein’s World” with Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, and Peter John Stoltzman, piano: The Washington Post has hailed Richard Stoltzman as “the preeminent soloist on the clarinet today,” while his son, pianist Peter John Stoltzman, has been called a “monster jazz piano player” by the Los Angeles Times. Together the father and son duo pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein with a program that includes selections from Bernstein’s “Candide” and “West Side Story” as well as music of Charles Ives and Gershwin. March 9, 7:30 p.m. and March 10, 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

·        Stan Kenton All-Star Big Band: A 17-piece orchestra comprised of the area’s finest jazz musicians comes together to pay musical tribute to the legendary pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Stan Kenton. The program includes such favorites as “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “September Song,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Minor Blues,” “Artistry in Rhythm” and more. March 17, 3:00 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.


Lunch & Listen: Sarasota

One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.

·        “¡OLÉ! Popular Latin and Spanish Music,” with Carmen de Vicente, castanets, Erol Ozsever, guitar, and Joseph Holt, piano: A celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month featuring popular Spanish and Latin tunes showcasing the skill of Carmen de Vicente, a rare master of Spain’s national instrument - the challenging, centuries-old castanet.  The program includes Agustín Lara’s “Granada,” Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” de Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance,” and more. November 6.

·        Brahms B Major Piano Trio with Daniel Jordan, violin, Natalie Helm, cello, and Joseph Holt, piano: Sarasota Orchestra principals Daniel Jordan and Natalie Helm join Dr. Joseph Holt in a program showcasing the violin, cello and Brahms, with other works by Handel/Halvorson and Mendelssohn. January 24.

·        Russian Folk Music and Dance with Elena Karokhina, balalaika, and Mikhail Smirnov, balalaika, contrabass, gusli, garmoshka: The acclaimed balalaika duo of Karokhina and Smirnov perform an interactive program of popular Russian and folk songs incorporating colorful costumes and dance.  Highlights of the program include “Lara’s Theme” from “Dr. Zhivago,” the Russian Gypsy song “Two Guitars,” the “Cossack Dance,” “Moscow Nights,” “Kalinka” and more. February 28.

·        “Mallets and Forethought” with George Nickson, marimba: Sarasota Orchestra principal percussionist and ensemblenewSRQ co-founder George Nickson showcases the unique sounds of the marimba in a program that includes Robert Oetemo’s lush, jazzy arrangement of “Over the Rainbow,” selections from Debussy’s “Children’s Corner” suite and more. March 21.


Lunch & Listen: Venice

One-hour concerts at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Boulevard, Venice.

·        Melodica Men: Joe Buono and Tristan Clarke, aka the Melodica Men, have been dazzling audiences worldwide since September 2016, when a video of their improbably virtuoso melodica performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” went viral, with over 1.5 million views in just one day. What began as two music conservatory students playing toy instruments just for fun (the melodica is a cross between a keyboard and a harmonica, and deceptively challenging to play), the duo has become an international sensation with a repertoire that’s now expanded to include Mozart, Bizet, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Piazzolla, Gershwin, Star Wars and more. February 19.

·        My Three Sons featuring Stephen Ditchfield with sons David, Michael, and Nate Ditchfield: Stephen Ditchfield and his sons, Nathanael, Michael, and David, were all singing together as a part of the well-known Ditchfield Family Singers when, in 1998, they discovered their potential as a quartet and formed My Three Sons. Since then they have won numerous awards and continue to delight audiences across the country with their exceptional harmonies and repertoire that includes popular tunes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s as well as Broadway hits and classic standards of our time.  March 7. Note: this is an evening concert with dinner served at 6:00 p.m. followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m.

·        “Piano Pizzazz Meets Fiddle Finesse” with Brian Gurl, piano and vocals, and Carlann Evans, violin: High-caliber and multi-faceted performer Brian Gurl teams up with Sarasota Orchestra violinist Carlann Evans to perform dynamic interpretations of popular tunes, including medleys from “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “And I Love Her,” and a nod to the classics with “Beethoven With a Twist.” March 26.

Soirée Series

Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Fischer/Weisenborne residence. Call for more information and address.

·        Artist Series Concerts National Vocal Competition Winner Daniel Noyola, baritone, with Joseph Holt, piano: A musical tour of Italy and Spain, and then across the Atlantic to the sounds of American musical theatre. September 16 and 17.

·        “The Singing Harp” with Giuseppina Ciarla, principal harpist of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra:  The versatile and virtuosic Ciarla sings while accompanying herself on the harp in many of her own eclectic arrangements. Her program includes “Clair de Lune,” “Que Sera,” Fauré’s Impromptu Opus 86, Sting’s “Roxanne,” and more. October 21 and 22.

·        “Gershwin & Chopin” with Chopin Project artist Igor Lovchinsky: Hailed by Gramophone as a "star of the future" and acclaimed by Germany's Piano Magazine for the "elegance and rapturous beauty" of his music-making, Lovchinksy has performed at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and has been compared to such greats as Walter Gieseking and Martha Argerich.  April 21 and 22.

Other special events

  • Artist Series Concerts Friends presents its annual fundraiser in support of Artist Series Concerts’ competitions, as well as educational/community outreach programs. The event nets more than $50,000 annually. The 2019 ASC Friends' gala is April 11 at Michael’s On East.
  • The Suncoast Music Scholarships, an annual collaborative competition conducted and funded by Artist Series Concerts and the Sarasota Music Club, it awards $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The 2019 SMS auditions are scheduled for April 13. 

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts' mission is to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences. It accomplishes this through its performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for thousands of students and educators every year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts has awarded more than $300,000 to nearly 300 gifted young musicians from around the country and in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursue successful music careers. For more information, visit