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Bach, Ballet and Cirque: Cultural Season Begins This Week in Orlando

| August 17, 2010

Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, 1876

Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, 1876

Viva Violas!

The Orlando Philharmonic’s ‘Sounds of Summer Series’ has been consistently superb this season with full audiences enjoying richly varied ‘chamber’ programs featuring performers from different ‘sections’ of the orchestra. The final concert – called Viva Viola! – will take place on Monday, August 23 at 7 pm at the Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. A quartet of violists will perform works ranging from Bach to Shostakovich. The ‘all-inclusive’ programs are created to provide audiences with a range of short pieces from the Baroque to contemporary, mountain fiddling.  Principal Violist Mauricio Rivero says, “The viola’s sound is often described as warm, deep, and rich. Some consider the viola to be the ‘heart’ of the orchestra.”  Artists performing with Rivero include Melissa Libby Swedberg, Douglas Pritchard and Karen Peters.  For tickets to this highly recommended series, visit or call 407.770.0071.

Free Piano Concert in Longwood


Central Florida has long been enriched by the contributions made to our classical music scene by the charming and talented Dr. Anne McLean. As a contributor to the Festival of Orchestras Series, Dr. McLean will offer a free performance to celebrate the love story of Robert and Clara Schumann while honoring the 200th Anniversary of Schumann’s birth.  Dr. McLean can be counted on to provide a mix of history and learned story-telling along with a live piano performance of selections by Schumann. The performance (and talk) takes place on Wednesday, August 25th at 6 pm at the Northland Performing Arts Center at 530 Dog Track Road in Longwood.  The evening is created to introduce audiences to the new Northland Performing Arts Center, which is set to be the new home for performances offered by the Festival of Orchestras in the coming season.  Along with the performance by Dr. McLean, audiences are invited to tour the hall and enjoy refreshments and a Q&A session with Festival of Orchestras Executive Director Susan Carey.  For further information call 407.539.0245 or visit

Currier & Ives at the History Center

The fact that American printmakers Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Ives (1824-1895) served not only as artists but also as ‘historians’ will be highlighted as the Orange County Regional History Center presents “The Story of Harness Racing by Currier & Ives.” Opening August 27 and running through October 17, the exhibit will feature original Currier & Ives lithographs telling the history of the 19th century American pastime that became a national sport. The rare lithographs depict trotting horses, rustic mid-19th century scenes, and comedic adventures, conveying a view of America prior to the development of photography. Along with the prints and posters, Museum visitors will examine racing equipment, rider uniforms, and other memorabilia in the “hands-on tack trunk.”  For local history buffs, the exhibit will include items from Orlando’s Ben White Raceway. Named after the patriarch of harness racing, Benjamin White, the raceway was a top training center for horses and, at its peak, was referred to as the colt capital of harness racing. The History Center is housed in the magnificently restored 1927 courthouse at 65 East Central Boulevard in the heart of downtown Orlando. Call 407.836. 8500 or visit

The ‘Official’ Start of Orlando’s Cultural Season

toni taylorIt’s a fund-raiser; it’s an auction; it’s an art show; it’s a gala performance; and it’s what has become known as the ‘official’ kick-off of Orlando’s Cultural Season. IT is the 6th Annual Red Chair Affair and IT happens on Saturday, August 28th at 8 pm at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. This exceptional showcase of performing groups and visual artists is your preview ticket to all things ‘cultural’ in the coming season. Patrons, encouraged to dress in their ‘best red,’ will enjoy performances by the Bach Festival, Bay Street Players, Cirque du Soleil, Emotions Dance, Encore!, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Gay Chorus, Orlando Philharmonic, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Power Chords, SAK Comedy Lab, VarieTEASE, Winter Park Playhouse and Yow Dance. Proceeds benefit the Red Chair Project, a community service designed to increase participation in 360 arts and cultural organizations throughout Central Florida.  For tickets visit

And NOT to be Missed …

The Art of Edward Gorey at the Orlando Museum of Art

The exhibition “Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey” at the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) shows off the deliciously malevolent illustrator whose Victorian settings and atmosphere of potential danger made ‘creepiness’ into fun – running through Halloween at the Orlando Museum of Art. Call 407 896 4231 or visit

Fred Astaire at the Winter Park Playhouse

Roy Alan channels the talent of Fred Astaire in Let’s Face the Music – A Tribute to Fred Astaire running at The Winter Park Playhouse from August 20 to September 19. This all-singing, all-dancing celebration of one of the greatest entertainers in history is performed by one of the great entertainers of Central Florida. Call 407.645.0145 or visit

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