I couldn't begin this overview of the 2019 season of Music Mondays without thanking all of you who attended our 2018 "June LeBell Memorial Season." It was an outstanding success, and our attendance figures showed that over 12,750 people attended Music Mondays in Sarasota and Venice. Enormous thanks to all of you.
Music Mondays for 2019 offers one of the most varied groups of performers ever. In putting together our list for each season we try to assemble a good mix of emerging talent, well established performers, spiced and seasoned up with a few old friends and outstanding area performers we haven't seen in sometime. I think this year really fills that bill. Once again Robert Sherman and Joseph Holt will be alternating as afternoon hosts in Venice. As a bonus, Joseph Holt will himself be our final guest in March. This should be fun.
This year opens with peripatetic pianist Pedja Muzievic, whose travels have him playing so many festivals, solos, and orchestra dates, that it's almost impossible to track him down. But track him down we did, and he'll be back with more stories and solos just for us.
This season is the 70th Anniversary of the Sarasota Orchestra, and we've invited some of the Principal players to be with us, including Fernando Traba, bassoon, and Natalie Helm, cello. George Nickson, percussion and Samantha Bennett, 2nd violin, will also be here to talk about their contemporary music group, "ensembleNEWSRQ", and give us a sampling of their repertoire.
With the assistance of Young Concert Artists in New York, we're happy to present Hanzhi Wang, a classical concert accordionist, who was a First Prize Winner in their 2017 International Auditions, and Emmanuel Ceysson, a former YCA prize winner who is now Principal Harpist of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
World renowned classical clarinetist Richard Stolzman is currently touring with his son Peter John in a tribute to "Bernstein at 100," and they will be with us with music of Bernstein, classics, and a little jazz, as well. Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalist Olga Kern is a fantastic pianist who tours worldwide, and we feel extremely lucky to have her as a guest.
Two singers complete our artist lineup: Sarasota Opera favorite Kara Shay Thomson, who will be singing Turandot this season, and Mary Beth Peil, who is literally a star of opera, stage, television and screen, and twice nominated for a Tony Award, will take off time from her role as the Dowager Empress in "Anastasia" just to be with us on Music Mondays as our "June LeBell Memorial Artist."
As you see, it's going to be a busy and surprising year for Music Mondays. I look forward to seeing all of you for this very special season! Can't wait to get started.