Jacksonville Symphony selected to perform at The Kennedy Center


The Jacksonville Symphony will perform at the Kennedy Center in March 2020 as one of four American orchestras selected for the SHIFT festival in Washington, D.C.

The event, entitled SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, will also feature the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

            The festival highlights the vitality of American orchestras and seeks to showcase how orchestras are responding to and reflecting their communities in meaningful ways, inside and outside the concert hall. SHIFT re-imagines what such a project can be when anchored by two of the nation’s leading cultural institutions — the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts — in the nation’s capital.  

            The Jacksonville Symphony will perform on the John F. Kennedy Center stage on the second day of the festival, March 24, 2020. The Symphony’s program will explore the many influences that jazz artists and composers have had on traditional classical composers. The theme, "Bridges," will feature a work by the Symphony's Mary Carr Patton Composer-in-Residence, Courtney Bryan. Also included in the program is Aaron Copland's famed Clarinet Concerto, performed by New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill; Henri Dutilleux’s “Métaboles;” a work that Duke Ellington wrote specifically for the Jacksonville Symphony entitled “Celebration” (premiered in 1972); and Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony in C.

            “The Jacksonville Symphony is honored to be recognized as one of the country’s most innovative and inspiring 21st century orchestras,” said Robert Massey, president and CEO of the Jacksonville Symphony. "Each year, we enrich the human spirit of more than 250,000 individuals throughout the First Coast through symphonic music. We’re excited to represent Jacksonville on a national stage.”

            The SHIFT application required the Symphony to discuss its goals and accomplishments as well as propose new and creative programs that the organization would present if accepted into the festival, along with its role in the First Coast community.

            “From the first time Robert and I spoke about the future of the Symphony, we both agreed that our community and our audience were an imperative part of our growth,” Music Director Courtney Lewis said. “We have endeavored to produce accessible and engaging programming that not only serves to nurture and build the audience of today, and tomorrow, but creates a culture of symphonic music that has the ability to impact our community and its residents. Being accepted into the SHIFT festival is a resounding affirmation that we have been making progress towards the goal we set out to accomplish three years ago.”

            As a SHIFT participant, the Jacksonville Symphony will participate in the six-day festival featuring "mini-residencies" throughout Washington, D.C. The Symphony will take its artistic ideas out into the D.C. area to showcase its ability to engage with the community. During the six-day period, Symphony personnel and musicians will also have the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with fellow SHIFT participants.

“Three years ago, we embarked on a five-year campaign to grow and stabilize the Jacksonville Symphony within our community,” said Massey. “In 2020, that campaign will come to an end and I can think of no better way to celebrate that endeavor than through the remarkable opportunity for this orchestra to participate in SHIFT.”

For more information about the Symphony, visit JaxSymphony.org; like them at facebook.com/JaxSymphony; follow them on @jaxsymphony, on Instagram at JaxSymphony and on YouTube at JacksonvilleSymphony.