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Southwest Florida Symphony returns to Barbara B. Mann Hall with Beethoven v. Coldplay Redux

By Staff | Mar 25, 2021

The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra and the fourth oldest in the State of Florida, makes its long awaited, highly anticipated return to Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on Saturday, April 17 with a Brave New Music concert, under the direction of rising classical-pop fusion star, Maestro Steve Hackman. During his time in quarantine, Maestro Hackman revised his innovative Beethoven v. Coldplay program to include new Coldplay songs that have been fused with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in addition to performances of original tunes by Maestro Hackman, making this version of his show a world premiere event. Maestro Hackman has become a favorite guest conductor with the symphony because of his innovative arrangements, which fuse classical with contemporary music.

Tickets range from $15-$109 and may be purchased online at WWW.SWFLSO.ORG or at WWW.BBMANNPAH.COM, by calling the symphony box office at 239-418-1500 or the Barbara B. Mann Hall box office at 239-481-4849. Attendance is capped at 50% and all CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure the health and safety of patrons, musicians and staff. Temperatures will be taken upon entry, masks must be worn by patrons at all times and social distancing is advised.

Incidentally, Maestro Hackman’s Mashupalooza: From Beyoncé to Beethoven was the last Mainstage Concert the Southwest Florida Symphony performed at Barbara B. Mann Hall (on Leap Day, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020) before the Coronavirus Pandemic forced the closure of theaters throughout the United States and the subsequent cancellation of all performing arts events around the world. “I have had my fingers crossed for this concert to happen for months,” says Maestro Hackman. “My appearance with the Southwest Florida Symphony was one of the last orchestras I led before the world shut down, so it’s befitting that my return to the podium is also with this orchestra. We have formed a warm, supportive relationship during the past several years, taking creative risks together and enjoying the rewards of those risks.”

In addition to bringing his unique programming back to Southwest Florida, Maestro Hackman has notoriously celebrated the conclusion of performances in Lee County at Nice Guys Pizza in Cape Coral. Once plans for his return were secured, he specifically requested a post-concert outdoor party at Nice Guys new, much larger location situated at 1404 Cape Coral Parkway. Jovana Batkovic, Southwest Florida Symphony board member and Nice Guys’ owner, has agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds from the post-concert party to the orchestra. “I grew up immersed in classical arts and understand its importance in any community,” says Batkovic. “I love that we can make classical music more approachable through programs like this. Before the pandemic, we saw so many new faces at concerts as a result of Brave New Music Concerts. We’re all thrilled that we can finally bring them back.”

“This is the perfect way to finally kick off the orchestra’s 60th anniversary season. It has evolved from beginnings as a community orchestra comprised of volunteer musicians in the early 60s through the early 80s to becoming Lee County’s only professional full symphony orchestra and one of the most innovative in the state. A great deal of that innovation and fearless creativity has been driven by relationships with conductors like Steve Hackman,” says Amy Ginsburg, the orchestra’s executive director. “We are emerging from the past year financially healthy, energized and eager to get back on a big stage. Our future is very bright!”

Southwest Florida Symphony General Information

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 60th concert year was scheduled to commence on Oct. 26, but the orchestra turned on a dime to revamp its 2020-2021 season with TinyConcerts; MiniMasterworks, TinyPops and Brave New Chamber Music Concerts in various locations throughout Southwest Florida. All alternative performance plans were developed as a result of the pandemic. The orchestra has delivered concerts consisting of much smaller ensembles throughout 2021. Performances of MiniMasterworks: Death and the Maiden happened on Friday, Jan. 15 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Bell Tower and Sunday, Jan. 17 at the Sanibel Community House. Brave New Chamber Music: Rock & Roll & the String Quartet happened on Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Gulf Theater in Punta Gorda, Friday, Feb. 19 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Bell Tower and Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Sanibel

Community House, and TinyPops: 2021 – Ain’t We Got Fun happen on Thursday, March 25 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Friday, March 26 at the Bell Tower and Saturday, March 27 at the Sanibel Community House and Sunday, March 28 at the Gulf Theater in Punta Gorda. Once widespread distribution of Coronavirus vaccinations began, the orchestra cautiously endeavored to return to its mainstage concert venue, Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, beginning with Beethoven v. Coldplay featuring Maestro Steve Hackman on Saturday, April 17. Maestro Nir Kabaretti’s farewell conducting engagements have also been developed. He is slated to return for a MiniMasterworks at Bell Tower in the center courtyard on Sunday, April 25 at 5 p.m. with a wind quartet and on Saturday, May 1 at Barbara B. Mann Hall with the orchestra.

Though a Music Director search has been postponed until the 2021-2022 concert season, the Symphony is fortunate to rely on the continued artistic support and guidance of its world renowned, critically acclaimed music director of the past six seasons, Maestro Nir Kabaretti, to assist with programming.

The Southwest Florida Symphony is the only professional symphony orchestra in Lee County and one of the oldest on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Founded by conductor Arlo Deibler, the Symphony made its debut as a community orchestra on April 15, 1961, with a roster of 24 musicians who performed in community centers and schools throughout Lee and Collier counties. It has since grown to become Lee County’s premiere symphonic ensemble, with a roster of 70 world class musicians playing to packed houses at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s mission is to celebrate the joy of music and to inspire audiences with a variety of professional-quality concerts that are accessible to all.

The Masterworks Classical Concert Series is performed at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers.

The Pops Concert Series, also performed at Barbara B. Mann, takes its concerts to Charlotte Performing Arts Center as well.

Further details on concerts and events can be found at www.swflso.org

Our Generous Sponsors

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 2020-21 sponsor list includes The City of Fort Myers, The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The Meisenberg Family Fund, The Florida Council on Arts & Culture, The Southwest Florida Symphony Endowment Foundation, The Cape Coral Community Foundation, The Southwest Florida Symphony Society, The L.A.T. Foundation, Uhler & Vertich Financial Planners, Ellie Fox, The Bell Tower, Gary Niethamer and Sue Purcell, Radiology Regional, The Estate of Don and Joan Calder, Liz Marnul, Burgess Brant Consulting Engineers, Florida Weekly, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, The Friends of the Symphony on Sanibel, Scanlon Lexus, Business Professional Insights, Ernie Fogg Sr. and Margot Flinn, Mr. Jeff Cull and Ms. Ella Nayor, Rob Diefenbach and Mr. Eric Diefenbach and JK Brown and Robert and Reina Schlager.