Archive for April 2008

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Maestro Roberston's Praise for the Orchestra

Our new orchestra too has gained critical accolades, especially for their rendition of Strauss's virtuoso score Salome; and the sense of classical style and texture they brought to Mozart's La finta giardiniera I would proudly compare to the best period-informed performances anywhere.

Maestro Stewart Robertson, 2003-4 FGO program book


Florida Orchestra Expresses support

Dear Musicians of the Florida Grand Opera,

This is to declare my support for your position in your right to collectively bargain with union representation.  I and my colleagues in the Florida Orchestra applaud you for your strength and courage in holding your ground.  You each know (many from recent personal experience) the importance of maintaining collective bargaining rights in the state of Florida, where the constant effort to errode collective bargaining has never been more evident. Keep up the good work.  We are following your fight and standing behind you.
  E. Shrauger
  Orchestra Committee Member
  Florida Orchestra


Musicians Protest Florida Grand Opera Outsourcing

Musicians began leafleting Florida Grand Opera audiences on Tuesday night, demanding that the Opera take artistic control by doing what every other opera company of its size does: hire the orchestra directly, without the use of an intermediary contractor. The musicians are also demanding that the Opera recognize South Florida Musicians Association, American Federation of Musicians Local 655, AFL-CIO, as their bargaining agent.


Full-Time Loyalty at Part-Time Rates

Jason Heath has posted some interesting reading on the reality of the freelance music business:

Some of the points Jason makes include:


FGO Orchestra Members Have Performed with Many Organizations

Members of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra have performed with every other musical organization in south Florida, as well as many other major organizations across the country. Some of the organizations we have performed with (or continue to perform with) include:


FGO Orchestra is Well Educated

Members of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra have degrees from some of the most prestigious music schools in the country. Educational institutions the musicians have attended include:


Opera Statistics from Top 15 Metro Areas

It is interesting to note that in the top 15 metropolitan areas, all of the opera companies employ their orchestras directly except for Florida Grand Opera.


Critics Have Good Things to Say About FGO Orchestra

FGO soars in La Sonnambula
Miami Herald, Feb. 11, 2007  

More than any single factor, the evening's success was due in no small part to having the estimable Richard Bonynge in the pit. A long and experienced veteran in bel canto repertoire from his celebrated partnership with his wife, Dame Joan Sutherland, Bonynge's natural command brought out all the elegance, lyric beauty and vivacity of Bellini's score masterfully. The conductor also drew consistently refined and idiomatic playing from the Florida Classical Orchestra, whose strings in particular sound better with every outing.


History of the FGO Orchestra

At least as early as the 1980's Florida Grand Opera had its own orchestra. Since the FGO orchestra and the Florida Philharmonic (then Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida) shared many of the same musicians, the orchestras merged in 1986 and FGO agreed to use the FPO for its productions. This relationship continued until 2002. 


AZOOMA Exposes Shell Game

The Arizona Opera Orchestra Musicians Association blogs about the shell game south Florida musical organizations use to avoid being seen as an employer. You can read about it here:


Contact Information

Contact the Musicians:

FGO Orchestra Musicians
South Florida Musicians Association
5861 SW 21 Street
Hollywood, FL 33023


Florida Grand Opera Orchestra Personnel

The 2007-2008 Season Personnel includes the following musicians:



[Robert Heuer] stressed that he and music director Stewart Robertson were "very happy" with the freelance musicians' past efforts. "I think Stewart liked the fact that he had musicians who liked being a pit orchestra and really came to work prepared to work hard. It's been a good relationship."

Lawrence Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 13, 2001

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