South Florida Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 200 Years Of Beethoven’s Monumental Masterpiece Symphony No. 9

In a milestone musical event, South Florida Symphony Orchestra (SFSO), led by Sebrina María Alfonso, paid passionate homage to Beethoven, one of classical music’s most revered composers, with a 200th anniversary celebration of his monumental choral masterpiece, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125! One hundred voices from South Florida Symphony Chorus, directed by Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios, featuring talented singers from Barry University, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, and the community, added to the revelry. Soloists Elizabeth Caballero (soprano), Rebecca Ringle Kamarei (mezzo-soprano), Adam Diegel (tenor), and Luis Ledesma (baritone) also performed a selection of grand opera arias. “When Beethoven added vocals to what would be his final symphony, he unwittingly changed the course of classical music forever and, in the process, created what is often cited as the greatest piece of music ever written,” said Maestra Alfonso. “Today, his magnificent Ninth continues to captivate audiences worldwide and has come to define our understanding of symphonic music as grand, opulent, powerful works of art.”

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 premiered in 1824 in Vienna to an enthusiastic audience. During its composition, Beethoven was steadily losing his hearing and by the time of its premiere, he was profoundly deaf. He never heard a note outside his
own imagination. Various accounts maintain that he had to be directed to face the audience during the performance to see its appreciation. The momentous ‘Ode to Joy’ finale, which was performed by a chorus of 100, is a testament to the resilience of our shared humanity when we stand united. What a thrill it was for SFSO to commemorate 200 years of this extraordinary masterpiece with our audiences!”

Complementing these milestone performances was a selection of moving operatic arias from Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Puccini’s Turandot and Tosca, and Delibes’ Lakmé.

This musical celebration hit its crescendo on the evening of SFSO’s “Ode to Joy” annual gala, the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, honoring local arts and culture advocates who champion musical creativity and innovation with “Sound of Success” awards.

Following its highly acclaimed 25th anniversary season, including sold-out shows and a celeb-rated performance accompanying award-winning alt-rockindie vocalist Natalie Merchant, South Florida’s largest symphonic orchestra is continuing its musical journey of excellence inspiring audiences of all ages. Upcoming concerts include masterworks from Bernstein, Schubert, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and more, including another SFSO premiere, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Clarinet Concerto. Additional popular music performances including Maestra Alfonso conducting SFSO in a live performance of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone In Concert on April 5 and 6 and Classical Mystery Tour: A Symphonic Tribute to The Beatles on May 11, both at Broward Center for the Performing Arts (separately ticketed events). Founded in 1997 in Key West by Music Director Maestra Sebrina María Alfonso, the now Wilton Manors-based South Florida Symphony Orchestra (SFSO) is celebrating its 26th season. SFSO is dedicated to providing enriching cultural music experiences to residents and visitors in Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Guided by the belief that music is pivotal to thriving communities, SFSO brings vibrancy and engagement with the arts via innovative programming and transformative educational initiatives.