Today, the Orlando Philharmonic announced five internationally renowned conductors who will vie for the position of Music Director during the orchestra’s  2014-2015 season. The finalists, in order of appearance, are Alondra De la Parra, Steven Jarvi, Eric Jacobsen, Dirk Meyer and Leslie B. Dunner. The orchestra plans to appoint one of these finalists as its new Music Director in the spring of 2015.

The five finalists were chosen by a search committee comprised of orchestra musicians and community members who spent 9 months screening a slate more than 275 candidates from around the world. Each finalist will spend approximately one week with the orchestra between September and March next season, conducting at least one classical program and making various community appearances. Each finalist will be evaluated by the search committee based on feedback orchestra musicians, audience members, leaders in the community, and ultimately, the Philharmonic’s board of directors.

“Party at the Plaza” raises over $70K for Orlando Philharmonic & The Plaza Live

Over 400 guests attended the event on January 25, which featured 5 stages of music, 8 food vendors and a silent auction.

Photos from the event: Photos by Brion Price Photography

(February 5, 2014, Orlando, FL) – On Saturday, January 25, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and The Plaza Live hosted “Party at the Plaza,” a fundraiser at The Plaza Live Theatre (425 N. Bumby Ave, Orlando), featuring 5 stages of live music. Over 400 people were in attendance, and the event netted over $70,000, more than any of the orchestra’s past three galas. Money raised will help fund the orchestra’s general operations in 2013-2014, which includes continued operation of the Plaza Live Theatre. This was the first year the event was held.

David Schillhammer, the Philharmonic’s Executive Director, said the orchestra wanted to do something different than their typical “gala” this year.

Orlando Philharmonic and Plaza Live To Host “Party at The Plaza” Benefit January 25

Event will feature 5 stages of live music, food stations, silent auction, dancing and more.

Photos at

(December 20, 2013, Orlando, FL) – On Saturday, January 25, the Orlando Philharmonic and the Plaza Live Theatre will present their first joint fundraising event, “Party at the Plaza,” from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at The Plaza Live (425 N. Bumby Ave, Orlando). The party features headliner Michael Andrew & The Atomic Big Band, with 14 additional musical acts ranging from classical to opera, jazz, bluegrass, funk, rock n’ roll and more. Food stations, silent auction, photo booth, beer and wine bar are also included. Tickets are $95, $150 for VIP. or 407-896-6700 x236. All proceeds benefit the orchestra and The Plaza Live.

$3 Million Raised by Orlando Philharmonic Toward Plaza Live Renovations

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra recently announced an anonymous gift of $1M toward renovations to the Plaza Live Theater, bringing the total dollars raised to $3.1 million, toward an estimated $6 million project.

(ORLANDO, FL – December 23, 2013) This week, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced that it received an anonymous gift of $1 million toward renovations to the Plaza Live Theatre, bringing the total raised to date to $3.1 million. The Anonymous donor joins other philanthropists Marc and Sharon Hagle, who made a $750,000 pledge in early 2011, Bryce West, who made a $500,000 gift in 2013 and Kenneth & Ann Hicks Murrah, who recently pledged $500,000 toward the project.


The Board of United Arts of Central Florida approved the recommendations of three grant panels composed of 42 volunteer-reviewers to award $1,370,231 in operating support grants to 43 Central Florida nonprofit cultural institutions.

The Operating Support Grant program is one of more than six United Arts funding programs, including designated giving secured through the collaborative Campaign for the Arts and; match dollars provided by United Arts’ Trustee; and corporate donors and contracts for services including educational programming. Ninety percent of today’s award is committed to Central Florida’s cornerstone cultural institutions. These include, in part, Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Science Center and Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

Kenneth & Ann Hicks Murrah Honored with 2013 Blackburn Award

Ken & Ann Hicks Murrah

The Murrahs accepted the award at the Philharmonic’s Beethoven 7 concert on Saturday.

(ORLANDO, FL – November 18, 2013) On Saturday, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra presented its 2013 John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award to Winter Park residents Kenneth and Ann Hicks Murrah in recognition of their service to the orchestra. The presentation was made on stage prior to Saturday’s Beethoven 7 concert at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

“I can’t think of two people who are more deserving of this award, and who exemplify the qualities that John Blackburn embodied, than Kenneth and Ann,” said Executive Director David Schillhammer. “On behalf of the musicians, board, staff and volunteers, I can’t thank them enough for their service, generosity and passion for the Philharmonic.”

Osceola County Students to Experience Orlando Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts

Students at Osceola County School District perform “The Star Spangled Banner” at the concert. More photos here

Each year, over 55,000 elementary students across Central Florida experience the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Young People’s Concerts” at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in downtown Orlando. An annual Central Florida tradition, the concerts provide students the opportunity to experience a live performance of symphonic music, opera and ballet while learning about their core subjects. This year, thanks to funding from United Arts of Central Florida, the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Osceola County School Board, every 5th grade student in the Osceola County School District will see the 2013 Young People’s Concert, “Heroes & Legends” for free on Tuesday, November 5th at the Osceola County School for the Arts in the Osceola Performing Arts Center. It’s the first time students have been able to see the orchestra in their own neighborhood.

Orlando Philharmonic Purchases The Plaza Live

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and The Plaza Live are joining forces to create a new, improved home for live music in Orlando.

(ORLANDO, FL – August 7, 2013) Yesterday, after months of planning, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra purchased the property known as “The Plaza Live,” located at 425 Bumby Ave, for $3.4 million.  The sale included the Plaza Live building, all its contents and the Plaza Live business, which currently presents more than 135 events each year. The Philharmonic is planning extensive renovations that will provide a new home for the orchestra, including offices, a rehearsal hall and performance space for the orchestra, as well as upgrade the venue so it can continue operating as a one of Florida’s premiere rock, pop, jazz and contemporary concert venues.