Top List of Affordable Music Concerts in March

Hands down, Sarasota is rich in art, culture and music. Having lived in New York and attending hundreds of concerts and performances in The Big Apple for 50 years, I can say for certain that Sarasota draws some of the best talent internationally, nationally, regionally and locally.

This week’s feature is dedicated to many organizations that offer some fine performances from local artist, some of whom are young, emerging artists: Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, and Pops Orchestra of Bradenton & Sarasota. Mark your calendars for any number of March performances that won’t break your bank account and also inspire you. I’m hooked. You will be, too!

Spotlight on Thriving, Young Artists

The Sarasota area has produced many accomplished artists, but this upcoming March, tune into the Artist Series Concerts. Here you will find a performance by clarinetist Daniel Solowey, the son of two Sarasota Orchestra musicians. He was featured on NPR’s From the Top where he was a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist award winner at age 17. Solowey is currently a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Artist Series Concerts brings this rising star home to Sarasota for one of two performances:

  • March 5 at 4pm and March 6 at 7:30pm, Daniel Solowey will be at the Fischer/Weisenborne residence and be accompanied by Milana Strezeva on piano. Milana is a Moldovan-American pianist. At the age of 11, she began playing chamber music with her clarinetist father and her mother, a renowned soprano. Milana’s love for family collaboration eventually grew into a passionate advocacy of vocal and instrumental chamber music. The Fischer/Weisenborne residence is at: 7459 Cabbage Palm CourtSarasota, FL, 34241
  • March 7, 7:30 at the Historic Asolo Theater features pianist Michelle Cann, winner of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recognizing extraordinary classical Black and Latinx musicians. Cann made her orchestral debut at age 14. She is the recipient of the 2022 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and her 2022-23 season includes her debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony. Cann’s program includes repertoire by Florence Price, whose music she has championed. Michelle Cann appears by arrangement with the Curtis Institute of Music. Refreshments are served following each performance.  For tickets and more information to all events, visit or call (941) 306-1202. $55.

Marcy Miller, executive director, told me, “Among so  many others, we’re so excited to have Michelle Cann, a Sphinx Medal of Excellence winner, in our March lineup. Our two other featured young artists, Daniel Solowey and Samantha Bennett, have deep ties to Sarasota and we’re thrilled to bring them back for these concerts.”

In addition to the young musicians mentioned above, violinist Samantha Bennett of Sarasota Orchestra (now with the Dallas Opera orchestra), will present a program of music that has inspired her career. She will perform works by Prokofiev and Berio, as well as perhaps the most famous unaccompanied violin piece of all, the Chaconne of JS Bach. Bennett performs at the Sarasota Yacht Club on March 23; the 11:00 a.m. performance is followed by lunch.

Note: This series is sponsored by Sora Yelin, in loving memory of Cary Yelin

An Orchestra that Really POPS!

The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton & Sarasota 

Who are they and who plays in The Pops Orchestra?
They are teachers, parents, neighbors, students. They have jobs. They have children. They have homes and schedules and commitments. They teach at local colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. They work in business, the arts and health care. Some are retired. Some are military veterans. They live in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Anna Maria Island, Punta Gorda, Nokomis, Sun City Center, St. Petersburg, and Holmes Beach among others. Some of them are snowbirds. And they are all musicians with The Pops Orchestra. This season we they have more than 60 musicians who bring their skill, passion and talent to the stage.

Their motto is, “Music You Love, Musicians You Know.”
The Pops Orchestra is the community orchestra for the greater Bradenton/Sarasota community. With more than 65 instrumentalists, including some of the finest professional, amateur and student musicians throughout the area and led by Dr. Robyn Bell, the Pops presents high quality musical entertainment at affordable prices.bTickets start at $30 with $5 tickets for students/children. More information and tickets are available at For tickets, visit:, (941) 926-7677 or see the YouTube video here.

Here’s the March lineup, and for Judy Garland fans, don’t miss:

    SUNDAY, MARCH 26TH, 3:00 PM
    MONDAY, MARCH 27TH, 7:30 PM

Their grand finale show this season features songstress Joan Ellison in a celebration of Judy Garland’s incredible musical output. Through the kindness and permission of the Judy Garland Heirs Trust, Joan and the Pops will be performing Judy’s original symphonic arrangements that will take you on a nostalgic trip from technicolor Hollywood to Carnegie Hall. This hit parade includes “The Trolley Song,” “Stormy Weather,” “Chicago,” “That’s Entertainment,” “Get Happy,” “Over the Rainbow,” and many more! Bring your smiles, dancing shoes, and everybody you know to this incredible concert experience. Tickets start at $30 with $5 tickets for students/children. Joan Ellison who is a near voice double for her idol will be in Sarasota/Bradenton in just a few weeks! She has made a specialty of reviving Judy Garland’s repertoire from the golden Hollywood years to her Carnegie Hall concert and television show, including restoring Ms. Garland’s glorious original orchestrations. Get your tickets now before these amazing shows sell out.

La Musica Festival

You may not be as familiar with this organization as others, but know that La Musica has established itself as an artistic and critical success and an outstanding American cultural institution. The preeminent chamber music festival was founded in 1987. From the beginning, the Festival was notable for bringing audiences into the creative process through open rehearsals, lectures, and other opportunities to meet the musicians. In its earliest years, performances were given in the historic Asolo Opera House at the Ringling Museum, but La Musica’s audiences soon outgrew its capacity and performances moved to the Sarasota Opera House in 1992.

Throughout its history, La Musica has collaborated with other cultural organizations, both national (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center) and local (Sarasota Film Society, Sarasota Ballet, Ringling College of Art and Design, GuitarSarasota). New works have been commissioned and/or premiered by Sussani, Turchi, Wallach, Bracali, Wyner, Hyman, Iyer, Winn, Tower, and Bilik.

Pianist Wu Han was appointed Artistic Director in 2022. La Musica today fulfills its mission to bring together the finest musicians from around the world to present exciting programs of familiar and seldom-heard chamber music, communicating a joy in performance to enthusiastic audiences. Performances begin in March and continue into April:

Monday, March 13, 2023  at 7:30 p.m.
Riverview Performing Arts Center, one Ram Way, Sarasota

Directly from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center stage, this program opens and closes with vibrant, beloved classics by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. In between are short personal statements inspired by the composers’ relationship to religion, their interpretation to native folk music, and the deeply intimate reaction to the death of a friend. Take a trip in sound from the pulsating dance hall to the quieter prayer in this exploration of music from the Americas in the 20th century.

Thanks to the generosity of La Musica’s board of directors, La Musica is able to offer FREE tickets to music students age 18 and under and accompanying parents or siblings to every concert at the opera house this season. Students are also welcome to attend weekend open rehearsals and talk with the musicians during breaks and after rehearsal. This is an opportunity unique to La Musica and enhances the onstage performance by making the experience personal. For information about how to apply for tickets, please call Joan Sussman at (704) 293-4907.

Finally, to round out this list of top, affordable music choices in March, here are a few more choices, some of which are free to the public:

  • March 2, 2023: The Music Program at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) will present “Essential Elements.” The SCF Choirs explore the musical nature of the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air. Song selections will feature music from the Renaissance to 20th Century performed in various choral styles by the SCF Concert and Chamber Choirs. The concert is under the direction of Melodie Dickerson, director of Choral and Vocal Studies with piano accompaniment by Lurray Myers, staff accompanist. 7:30 p.m. $15 for general admission and $5 for SCF students and staff unless otherwise noted. Tickets for each performance are available online at or by calling 941-752-5252. SCF Neel Performing Arts Center, SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton, FL
  • March 3 – 5, 2023: It’s the Downtown Sarasota Blues Festival with performances by creative and talented musicians from both the local and regional circuit. Choose your foods from a diverse menu of barbeque and meat dishes (along with vegetarian and seafood of course) all cooked fresh on site by local restaurants and food purveyors. During breaks between performances, enjoy time shopping a marketplace of fine arts, crafts, and select fine products and food items. Friday 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.. Admission is Free! J.D. Hamel Park, Bayfront Drive, Sarasota, FL.
  • March 6, 2023: It’s Monday Night Jazz at the Florida Studio Theatre Court Cabaret. Monday Night Jazz at the Cabaret presents an exciting evening of jazz with top entertainment in an intimate cabaret setting in downtown Sarasota at the John C. Court Cabaret at FST; First St and Cocoanut Ave, Sarasota, FL. Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for food and beverage service. Click here for tickets and updated information on performer.
  • March 9, 2023: Enjoy the Brown Bag Concert Series every Thursday from noon – 1 p.m. with live music through March 31. Bring your lunch and a chair or blanket and enjoy a wide variety of musical performances. Adding new local musicians. Relax and enjoy wonderful music in a delightful park setting. Free admission and Free parking. Phillippi Estate Park, Park Gazebo area, 5500 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL.
  • March 15. 2023: Check out the Sarasota Jazz Festival 2023: Concert opening act; the Christian Sands Trio followed by the Lizz Wright Band Tickets from $60 (Jazz Club Mbrs 20% discount). 6:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. The Circus Arts Conservatory Big Top Tent at Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL

Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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