AVON PARK, Fla. – Feb. 19, 2018 – The Florida Orchestra, the largest professional symphony orchestra in Florida, comes to the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at SFSC.

The concert, “Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World,’” takes place on Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Tickets are $24 – $32. Tickets may be purchased at the SFSC Box Office, in front of the Wildstein Center, Monday through Friday, 11: 30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., or by visiting sfscarts.org. Students receive a 50 percent discount and groups of 12 or more receive a 50 percent discount plus one free ticket for the group organizer. Sponsors of the performance are Highlands Eye Institute/Highlands Optical, Carol Emery, and Dr. Andrew and Beth Kulick.           

Prior to the performance, a Backstage Scoop pre-show talk will be conducted by Florida Orchestra Conductor Michael Francis. The talk is free for ticket holders and will take place in the SFSC Museum of Florida Art and Culture (MOFAC) at 6 p.m.           

Praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, film composer, recording artist, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions.

López-Gavilán has appeared in such prestigious venues as the Amadeo Roldán, Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes, Teresa Careño, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jordan Hall, and Royal Festival Hall. A milestone in his professional and personal life came in early 2015 when he joined the New York-based Harlem Quartet—co-founded by his brother Ilmar, the quartet’s first violinist—for concerts in Calgary, Seattle, and Phoenix. His partnership with the Harlem Quartet continued in 2016 with a United States tour that included concerts and residency activities.

In July 2017, he performed with violinist Joshua Bell and the Havana Chamber Orchestra, led by his wife Daiana Garcia, in a “Seasons of Cuba” concert at California’s Festival Napa Valley. He then returned to Chautauqua, where he performed his own music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra under Garcia. Later that month, he debuted with Nevada’s Classical Tahoe Orchestra as a soloist in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and in the premiere of his new piano concerto “Emporium.”

Conductor Michael Francis has quickly established himself internationally. Known for maintaining a diverse repertoire while paying particular homage to the composers of his native Britain, Francis enjoys great reception throughout North America, Europe and Asia. This season, Francis debuts with Berlin Radio Symphony, Philharmonia, and the Minnesota and Pacific symphony orchestras and he returns to Komische Oper Berlin, Seoul Philharmonic, and the Milwaukee and Indianapolis symphony orchestras. Furthermore, he will conduct the international ARD competition with Bavarian Radio Symphony.

Francis’ additional guest and return appearances in North America have included the Cleveland Orchestra and the orchestras of New York, Cincinnati, Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. His European engagements have included Dresden Philharmonic, MDR Leipzig, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pflaz, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid and Mariinsky Orchestra. In the United Kingdom, he has worked with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Scottish Symphony. In Asia, Francis has conducted the NHK Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, the Hong Kong and Japan philharmonics, and he has returned to the Malaysia and Seoul philharmonics.