Most people go to Florida for Disney World, beaches, and sunshine, but that doesn't mean you can't catch a little culture while you're there, too. With its big cities, retirees and vacationers, Florida is packed with things to do -- even when you're away from the beach -- and many Florida cities have world-class symphonies. Before you visit the sunshine state, learn about their symphonies so you can plan your cultural excursions.
Southwest Florida Symphony
Located in Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida Symphony has a full calendar of classical and pops symphony events. Founded in 1961, it features a youth orchestra a
The Sarasota Orchestra, which calls itself "the new Florida West Coast symphony" was founded in 1949. It performs in several venues in the Sarasota area, including Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and the North Port Performing Arts Center.
The Florida Orchestra performs in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. It's offerings include classical, pops, education, youth concerts, and films with live orchestra accompaniment.
Traditionally, symphony orchestras perform classical music from masters such as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Brahms. Now, however, almost all symphonies now offer "pops" concerts of popular music designed for a wider audience. Pops concerts can include everything from big band music to recent radio hits.
Florida Youth Orchestra
As the name implies, youth orchestras are made up of young people. In the case of the Florida Youth Orchestra, which is located in Hollywood, Florida, the musicians are 6-19 years old. Although it's based in Hollywood, the Florida Youth Orchestra has played for more than 70,000 people at Dolphins Stadium.
Ocala Symphony Orchestra
If you're passing through Ocala, check out the Ocala Symphony Orchestra at one of the many events they put on every year. Their events include "Symphony Under the Stars" on Mother's Day, children's concerts, a Young Artist Competition, and pops offerings.