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South Florida Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 200 Years of Beethoven on March 3

Ode to Joy! In a milestone musical event, South Florida Symphony Orchestra (SFSO), led by Sebrina María Alfonso, will pay 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, will add to the revelry. Soloists Elizabeth Caballero (soprano), Rebecca Ringle Kamarei (mezzo-soprano), Adam Diegel (tenor), and Luis Ledesma (baritone) will also perform a selection of grand opera arias. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) in Fort Lauderdale. A pre-concert chat illuminating the works and composers will take place 30 minutes prior to the concert with Dr. Alan Mason.

“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, 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.

Alfonso added, “The sheer emotional power that courses throughout Symphony No. 9 can elicit uncharted feelings, creating a sense of wonder and awe in listeners and I look forward to our audience experiencing this profound connection. The momentous ‘Ode to Joy’ finale, which will be performed by a chorus of 100, is a testament to the resilience of our shared humanity when we stand united. What a thrill it will be for SFSO to commemorate 200 years of this extraordinary masterpiece with our audiences!”

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

This musical celebration hits 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. The separately ticketed gala includes champagne and hors d’oeuvres, dinner, a choice of premium seats add-ons for the concert, and a post-performance dessert reception. Tickets for the gala start at $350 and are available to purchase at

Following its highly acclaimed 25th anniversary season, including sold-out shows and a celebrated performance accompanying award-winning alt-rock indie 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).

Single tickets for this program begin at $25 in Fort Lauderdale and flexible ticket packages are on sale now.

For tickets and additional information, visit, call (954) 522-8445 or email

Images Courtesy of South Florida Symphony Orchestra


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