Before the Florida Orchestra formed in 1966, there were two Tampa Bay area orchestras: the Tampa Philharmonic and the St. Petersburg Symphony.
Talks of a merger had started a few years before, and that year representatives from both organizations met in a boat at the center of the bay for a “marriage” ceremony signaling their intent to form one orchestra. The Florida Gulf Coast Symphony’s first season opened Nov. 14, 1968.
The orchestra was renamed in the ’80s, and today is led by Music Director Michael Francis. The orchestra will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, starting in September.