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Symphony to Focus on Beethoven in New Season

Marcus Roberts playing piano.
Pianist Marcus Roberts and his jazz trio will open the 2019-20 season for the Jacksonville Symphony, performing Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' on Sept. 28 at the Times-Union Center. [Will Dickey/Times-Union file]

The Jacksonville Symphony will celebrate its 70th season in 2019-20 with a focus on Beethoven, a trip to D.C. and a visit from a Jacksonville native.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Ludwig von Beethoven’s birth, and his works will be featured prominently in the symphony’s new season. Beethoven’s Mass in C, “Emperor” Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto and Ninth Symphony will all be performed.

Marcus Roberts and his jazz trio will open the season, performing Gershin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the symphony. Roberts was born in Jacksonville and attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine and Florida State University. The pianist played in Wynton Marsalis’ band before forming his own trio. He was the winner of the first Great American Jazz Piano Competition (now known as the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition) in 1983.

Other guests scheduled to join the symphony include conductor Anu Tali, soprano Susan Graham, violinist James Ehnes and pianists Natasha Paremski and Daniel Hsu.

The symphony will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in Shift: A Festival of American Orchestras, one of just four orchestras invited to participate.

The Masterworks Series will include works by Brahms, Dvorak, Elgar, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

It’s not all classical – the symphony will perform the soundtracks to “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” “Jurassic Park” and “Up” while the films show over their heads. The Pops series includes the traditional holiday and patriotic shows, as well as shows featuring the music of Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin and doo-wop music.

Details of the season and subscriptions are available at


About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit


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