Linda Moxley, Executive Director of the Sarasota Concert Association, Joins the Club

Linda Moxley, Executive Director of the Sarasota Concert Association, Joins the Club

She has had an amazing career in marketing and public relations for orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony, but in October of 2020, she moved to Sarasota to be the first executive director in the 78-year history of the Sarasota Concert Association.
Take a listen to Linda Moxley's fascinating life and career while learning all about the history and current offerings of the Sarasota Concert Association.
All that and more on this week's episode of the Suncoast Culture Club podcast.
Come along and join the club!

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Robyn Bell: As I always say, there are some amazing people in the arts community here on the Suncoast. Some specialize in performing, but others, very important people as well, specialize in the organization of events, in the marketing of those events and organizations. And I am pleased to have with me today, one of those people currently, Linda Moxley is. Very first executive director of the Sarasota Concert Association, a position she has held since 2020. But before that, she worked in Baltimore, Atlanta, San Francisco, maybe even more places that I don't even know about. She worked with various performing arts organizations, and I have asked her to tell us all about that and the upcoming season of the Sarasota Concert Association. So Linda Moxley. Welcome to the Club.

Linda Moxely: Thank you, Robyn. It's great to be here. 

Robyn Bell: Okay, so tell us, you've landed here in 2020, but you've had a very varied career. Tell us about how you got started. I think you're a musician to start with, and what sort of positioned you and on your road to come to Sarasota? 

Linda Moxely: Well, I, I grew up on Long Island.

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: And I studied piano from a very young age, and my dad, you know, in his twenties had a, group in Brooklyn, New York called Herb the Syncopaters. He was a trumpet player. , 

Robyn Bell: I love that. Oh yeah. So me, I'm a trumpet player. 

Linda Moxely: Oh, great. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Mm-hmm. . 

Linda Moxely: So as a young age, I would learn to read out of fake books and accompany him for various, you know, big band tunes.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: So that was kind of my early, start. I was accompanying, choruses. Junior high in high school. So I did a lot of playing and you know, and singing and chorus. And then when it was time to decide to go to college, I was deciding between vet school, law school and music school. 

Robyn Bell: Mm. 

Linda Moxely: And they were equally interesting to me. I think law school was a little more interesting to my dad than. Than for me, . But I, I chose music school and I ended up going to, state University of New York at Fredonia, which is upstate New York. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Linda Moxely: And, was getting a music education degree or did get a music education degree while, playing piano.

And, um, 

Robyn Bell: what was your plan to be like? A public school teacher? 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: Particularly, I wanted to be a choral conductor. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: Actually. 

Robyn Bell: Mm-hmm. .

Linda Moxely: But I don. Great voice and I kind of thought, I think you need to be a good singer in order to be a choral conductor. Which I found is not completely true. 

Robyn Bell: It is not , 

Linda Moxely: but I got that in my mind. So I went through four years. I did student teaching in upstate New York and I just wasn't sure that the teaching track was the right thing for me. So I ended up going straight to graduate school, university of Cincinnati and got my master's in arts management cuz I decided maybe the business side is a little bit. Appealing and you know, I'll do better. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And that's a, a nice mix for you of music and like you said, law, kind of the, the business side of things. So you found the, the perfect intersection there? 

Linda Moxely: I did, yeah. So it worked out well and, and I did get, my teaching degree, so I was certified to teach in New York and Ohio, but never actually taught a day until many years later when I. Graduate level courses at a university in Baltimore on arts management. 

Robyn Bell: Nice. 

Linda Moxely: Getting into the field and all of that. So it was kind of, you know, a big circle. So after I got my, master's degree, uh, one year was spent with the St. Louis Symphony as an intern. So it was an entire year of working in every department. So I got to see what it was like to work in marketing and PR and artistic and kind of settled in the marketing area. Mm-hmm. marketing and pr. I just thought that was, you know, interesting. and so my first job. Marketing director for the Virginia Philharmonic, which actually was four orchestras. It was called the Virginia Orchestra Group. So there were several classical orchestras. There was Pops Orchestra. So talk about your first job. Like it was overwhelming. There were four boards, there were four music directors. It was really challenging. 

Robyn Bell: Oh. It'd be like taking our groups and putting him under one umbrella here in island. 

Linda Moxely: Wow. And each conductor, you know, wants more pr. Them. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, really? Is that how that works? 

Linda Moxely: It was , it was a little challenging. And then I, I was there for a year and it was the only job I've gotten fired. Oh. And, and I was fired because the music director wanted his wife to do the marketing. So you, so you, 

Robyn Bell: you saw quickly some of the politics that can run through there. Yeah.

Linda Moxely: So in those days, that could just be done. Mm-hmm. . The executive director felt terrible. He said, oh, I'm just so sorry. You're wonderful. Anyway, my sites were on San Francisco. I really wanted to live in San Francisco. I knew the PR director there, so he hired me to be assistant director of PR for the San Francisco Symphony. So that was kind of my dream, you know, was to go out there. 

Robyn Bell: Now, I know the San Francisco Symphony is like Michael Tilson Thomas was their conductor for a very long time. Did you get a chance to work with him in that or was he coming up? 

Linda Moxely: I was, I was before him. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah.

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: So we're talking the eighties. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. . 

Linda Moxely: When I was there, John Adams was the very first composer in residence. 

Robyn Bell: Oh yes. 

Linda Moxely: So that was, you know, back that time. So, ado Duar was the music director and, um, it was a great orchestra and they did some very, innovative things. They had a new and unusual music series where the band members of Jefferson Starship would come to the concerts. I mean, it was a very cool kind of thing. 

Robyn Bell: And to this day, that orchestra is known for their innovation and their, their innovative programming. 

Linda Moxely: They are, mm-hmm. , yes. And then the PR people in town that would do the rock concerts would help us out with our galas, you know, when we were wrangling a lot of media. And then in turn, I got to help with PR for the Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead and, you know, rock. It was so, the PR people were very, very close and it was very, it was a really great, you know, kind of learning experience. So, after that, I went to the Atlanta Symphony and I was head of marketing and PR there. It was the last year of Robert Shaw as music director and we did the first European tour that the orchestra and chorus went on and one of the concerts was in East Berlin the year before the wall came down.

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Linda Moxely: So there was a lot of checking under buses and violin cases that people weren't smuggling. People across from Wow. West Berlin to East Berlin. And, and Robertshaw was just. Amazing to work with. Just, you know, and the mm-hmm. chorus that he built. So that was, that was just a really interesting time.

Robyn Bell: And Atlanta is a really neat town. 

Linda Moxely: It is, 

Robyn Bell: yeah. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. So I was there for six years and, actually in those days, the Atlanta Symphony did an annual, concert, tour in Florida. So my. Glimpse of Sarasota was in the early nineties. Mm-hmm. with the Atlanta Symphony, which performed at Van Wezel and I believe they were presented by the Sarasota Concert Association where 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, they would've been 

Linda Moxely: where I now work.

Robyn Bell: Yes. So how about that full circle 

Linda Moxely: irony. Yeah. Yeah. Then I went to the Baltimore Symphony. And was VP of Marketing and NPR there and, was there for 10 years. We had some wonderful tours, two extensive tours to Asia. One with Yo Yo Ma. , I was in charge of doing a Thanksgiving dinner for the entire group because we were in Osaka during Thanksgiving. And so, The Japanese chefs were determined to make, you know, turkeys, which they make completely different from how we make it. And they put it, 

Robyn Bell: was it wrapped in around rice and like a ma sushi presentation? No,

Linda Moxely: they put a, they put an inch of. Salt around the outside of it, and then they chip away the salt, and then the Turkey doesn't look even cooked, you know?

Robyn Bell: Mm-hmm. ,

Linda Moxely: and they put it in a buffet with a lot of other kinds of foods and Japanese foods and everything. So as the musicians are coming through the line, the buffet line, one comes up to me and says, the turkey's not cooked all the way through. You know, worst nightmare. I'm gonna kill the orchestra , so 

Robyn Bell: everybody's gonna get food poisoning. Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: So the chefs didn't understand. Me saying, please don't serve any more Turkey. And I'm running through the line of the musician saying, don't eat the Turkey. There was plenty of other food there, so it wasn't like, you know, but it was so disappointing and then the president comes running off to me and says, we have a problem. And I said, oh, I, I know about the Turkey, I'm on it. Plus we had a news crew from ABC coming on the tour and I didn't really want that to be a big national news story. 

Robyn Bell: Right. 

Linda Moxely: So, but what did turn out to be the national news story is David Zim in the music director had a kidney stone there we are in Osaka.

Robyn Bell: Oh. 

Linda Moxely: And he wanted to go all the way home to Baltimore, to Johns Hopkins, to his doctor, so it ended up being quite a night with me not being able to sleep, wondering if I killed the orchestra , and then the assistant conductor having to step in without rehearsal, conduct the final concert of the tour.

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Linda Moxely: In Santori Hall. So, 

Robyn Bell: but what, what an experience for that assistant conductor me was, thank goodness you had him on tour or her on tour. 

Linda Moxely: Yes, it was, and he did an extraordinary job. Dan Hak is his name, and he was, he did a fantastic job so anyway, so it was Baltimore and then also while the time that I was there, we engaged, Marvin Hamish 

Robyn Bell: Yes.

Linda Moxely: As a principal. Pops conductor. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: And he's just, Genius, talk about a plus personality type A always multitasking and

Robyn Bell: is very different. The, the personality and approach of a pops conductor versus the classical symphony conductor Right. Is so very different. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Yeah. You know, he was treating it like Broadway, you know? Right. Like he'd have an idea and he'd wanna change it right away or do something different, and he was just genius that way, which doesn't always conform very well. Usual symphony orchestra contract of how far in advance they need to know what they're playing and when, but, they, enjoyed, you know, and supported him. He was actually, you know, quite wonderful. And I remember taking him, we had a press conference announcing the new pops season. We were at a restaurant right across from the Symphony Hall. Mm-hmm. , all the media was there and I was walking him back across the street in the middle of the street. He stops and he said, wait, I forgot something. I thought it was his jacket or you know, something. I forgot to give him the phone number of the box office to call for tickets, . And I said, well, it's on the press release. The media . 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. That'll announce it. Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: But that's how he was always thinking and always, you know, I had him do an interview with Maryland Public Television while they were setting up their equipment, cuz he never left one moment to waste. He would come from New York to Baltimore by Amtrak. So he was very familiar with, Amtrak. So he's sitting there at the piano waiting for them to set up the, cameras. And he, he came up with this jingle for Amtrak just out of nowhere. He, that's how prolific he was as a composer. He was great words, little song and everything like that. And I said, We should, we should tell Amtrak about that. It's, it's actually perfect. Anyway, so that was my time with Baltimore, symphony. I, I left to do some consulting for a couple of years where I had some really interesting experience, like, in Russia, a seminar telling 40 Russian orchestras how American orchestras do marketing and pr 

Robyn Bell: Wow.

Linda Moxely: And, and some other, Things that I did. And then I ended up becoming executive director for Baltimore Choral Arts Society, which was a, a choral group. Okay. Mm-hmm. . It was great. It was a great 10 years and, and just, you know, learned a lot. And then the symphony lured me back to return to be VP of marketing and, and pr. So I did that for another three years. But, but I would say that eight or 10 years ago, Came to Sarasota on vacation and just kept coming back and 

Robyn Bell: this is how it happens. Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: And each time I would make a point to meet with someone, in the arts or executive director or someone who's, you know, as I got to meet the head of the Ringling Museum and the opera and all this and 

Robyn Bell: Right.

Linda Moxely: Just was so impressed with the cultural. all the culture that's here in Sarasota, cuz that was gonna be very important to me wherever I moved next. 

Robyn Bell: Mm-hmm. 

Linda Moxely: had to have a really rich, cultural community. So I just have had my eye on Sarasota for a while and in March, 2020, literally everyth. Stood still and I was heading up a marketing department and we had to transition from, a department that was presenting concerts and selling tickets to a video technology company, . 

Robyn Bell: Exactly. 

Linda Moxely: And you know, we didn't know a whole lot about that, so we had to get some. Experience, but having musicians perform from their homes and setting up with proper microphones and, 

Robyn Bell: and then praying people watch it and consume it. Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. People did. 

Robyn Bell: They did, yeah. 

Linda Moxely: To say, and what they loved about it was, , you know, at Symphony Orchestra you get to see them from a certain perspective. They're always wearing the same clothes, . And, they got to see them in their homes with their kids. Some of them, their spouses played instruments.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. A whole different environment. 

Linda Moxely: They could chit chat, you know, and so the whole viola section did a whole series of, lunch box, you know, B a C H, uh, series that 

Robyn Bell: Oh, how clever. 

Linda Moxely: Just wonderful. . And then I said, you know, why don't we pull all these together? Cuz at the time no one could go to retirement. Assisted living to see their parents and all. And I said, you know, that's gotta be devastating to have your parents or 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, I was in that boat. Yep. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Mm-hmm. . So why don't we put together a string of these kind of fun things? and I'll talk to the retirement communities, you know, in the assisted living and see if they'll put it over there.

Robyn Bell: Mm-hmm. 

Linda Moxely: their TVs and they were thrilled. So we, ended up with, I think it was like 40 or so communities that had them there, and the musicians were just thrilled to. Have their, you know, content used. So,

Robyn Bell: but it wa I mean that shift, cuz I lived it too, not only in performing arts, but education. Like I, I feel like I got a double whammy. We lost a lot of faculty in the music program here cuz they learned how to do like coding and computers. And now they've gone to work for website developing companies and they're not, Really making music anymore. It was exhausting and I'm sure, also rewarding to be able to shift and pivot and learn this new skill and put that out to the world, you know, Bravo to you guys, in Baltimore that was able to do that. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. , and, I would say all over the country. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: Organizations are doing that. I mean, Baltimore didn't have cameras installed in the, hall quite yet, so they did that that summer. Mm-hmm. , but other orchestras and organizations that had cameras already installed were able to do things right away. You know, have musicians socially distanced and things.

Robyn Bell: Mm-hmm. ,

Linda Moxely: that was March, 2020. And then I heard about this, job with Sarasota Concert Association shortly after that. And it was around the time that I thought, well, you know, this probably wouldn't be a bad time for me to do something new. But the idea of. Putting my house on the market in the middle of the pandemic interviewing, which was all done by Zoom. I wasn't actually here, but I knew Sarasota well enough to say I'd love to, come here. So I moved in October, 2020, so, my first year was, Canceling concerts. Yeah. , you know, communicating with donors, you know, getting to know, you know, well, and 

Robyn Bell: let's just say this, Sarasota Concert Association has been in existence here for 78 years, and you are the first and only executive director. They were really kind of run by a volunteer board before then. So why don't we make this the jumping off. Tell us what in the world is the Sarasota Concert Association? 

Linda Moxely: Yeah, so, this is the 78th anniversary and it was completely board run for all of those years. It started in 1938, the Sarasota Women's Club. Sponsored what they called community concert course And then the Community Concert Association was under the, auspices of Columbia Artist Management, and they looked at it as an opportunity to present their own artists, so that's kind of how it, started. Columbia said, we have these artists that we would love to showcase, but it was still presented here in Sarasota 

Robyn Bell: and Sarasota at the time, didn't have its own orchestra, didn't have its own anything. And so this was the only way for them to really consume culture was for these groups and people and organizations to come to us. Right,

Linda Moxely: right. And then the performances initially took place in the Women's Club auditorium, which is now the site of Florida Studio Theater. 

Robyn Bell: How about that? 

Linda Moxely: So that's where the concerts began, and that's what it was called.

Robyn Bell: I had no idea. 

Linda Moxely: And then the concerts were suspended through World War ii. Mm. And resumed in 1946 with concerts that were performed at the exhibition hall, which we know of as the municipal auditorium. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Right there on the bay. 

Linda Moxely: Right. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: And, . So the concerts took place there until 1970 when Van Wezel performing Arts Hall was built. And then of course that's when the concerts moved there. And since then, it's been a real who's who of world renowned soloists and chamber ensembles. The first orchestra to appear was the Baltimore Symphony . 

Robyn Bell: How about that? 

Linda Moxely: Another little coincidence in my past. And that was in the 19 47, 48 season. So that was the first time. That the organization presented an orchestra before then they were soloists and I imagine chamber ensembles. 

Robyn Bell: Well, yeah. Okay. Can I just, I wanna interrupt you here because as an orchestra conductor, when I look at the Sarasota Concert Association's offerings, my eyes kind of go to the big symphonies, but I have to think further than that because it's not just the big symphonies coming through. You guys bring world renowned chamber music and solo performers as well. 

Linda Moxely: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: So it's all encompassing? 

Linda Moxely: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, 

Linda Moxely: yeah. Yeah. And, and we usually present at least two, maybe three, of our great performers are, are orchestras either. US orchestras or international orchestras. So there have been the La Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, , the London Symphony, Moscow, a number of, different things. And then in the early nineties, in addition to the Great Performance Series, they started, something called Munch Time Musics, which were. free lunchtime, concerts that featured, local, you know, regional musicians, which we do to this day. It's not called that. It's called Music Matinee. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Yes, I know what that is. Yep. 

Linda Moxely: And we do this in the, in the Beatres Friedman Symphony Center, and it's, usually four of them a year at lunchtime and presenting it.

Robyn Bell: The Holly Hall inside the Symphony Center. 

Linda Moxely: David Cohen Hall. 

Robyn Bell: David Cohen Hall. Okay. Yep.

Linda Moxely: That's been happening since the early nineties. And, you know, it just sort of changed the name. So, up until 2020 all this was done. Completely volunteer with, board members. And, 

Robyn Bell: that's amazing to think about. , 

Linda Moxely: it's amazing to think about because they did the marketing, the hiring of the. All the operations, the pr, I mean everything, financial, I mean everything imaginable and very, very successfully. I mean, the organization is really very solid financially. And I think probably before the pandemic hit, but they, you know, probably saying it'd be a good time for us to have a. An executive director that manages, all of these things. So there's still committees that help with all kinds of things. From the artist selections to, refreshments for the, visiting. artists, so they're still very involved with lots of 

Robyn Bell: hospitality.

Linda Moxely: Hospitality, yes. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. And are you the only paid staff person now for them? 

Linda Moxely: There's also a full-time box office manager. And then we have a full-time, marketing npr. Communications manager. 

Robyn Bell: Excellent. 

Linda Moxely: Help assists with that. 

Robyn Bell: Okay, good. Good. Because boy, that's a big job for one person. Mm-hmm. . I would, one time, several years for the Pops, I was also answering the phones and selling tickets online. So yeah, it's, you can't, you get to a point where you just can't do all that. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, I enjoy talking to the patrons and it's great. 

Robyn Bell: Well, the big orchestras, they have traditionally come through and played at Van Wezel, and the chamber groups would play someplace different and the solos play some different. But I think you're expanding out a little bit from Van Wezel this year. So talk to us about all the venues in town that your concerts are held up. 

Linda Moxely: Okay, so our, Great Performance series, which is typically. Five concerts, are at Van Wezel and at Riverview Performing Arts Yes. Center, which is on the Riverview High School campus. But I will say 

Robyn Bell: you have no idea you're on a high school campus when you're in there,

Linda Moxely: the acoustics. Mm-hmm. , you perform, you know? Mm-hmm. , just, they're, they're fabulous. So it's just really, it's really wonderful. So we put smaller things there, not necessarily like Emmanuel Ax. We put it Van Wezel. Chamber music and other things in the somewhat smaller hall, it's still a thousand seats, so it's not teeny tiny.

Robyn Bell: Right, right. 

Linda Moxely: You know, so, this year after we had, booked the Great Performance Series, we had two opportunities to add. some things. One was Chanteclear, the wonderful, 12 member male ensemble from San Francisco that does mostly Renaissance music, was doing a Christmas program and they wanted to know if we wanted to present them. So I said, oh, that would be great. And we had wanted to do something in the Opera House, so we presented them at the Opera House. Normally we can't get. There because our season is when their season is 

Robyn Bell: right. 

Linda Moxely: So because we did it right after Thanksgiving, the hall was available. That was a wonderful concert. And then following that, an agent called me and said that the Lavi, national Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine is gonna be doing a US tour. Would you like to present them? And there again, it was like, 

Robyn Bell: How do you say no to that? 

Linda Moxely: How can we not? 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, 

Linda Moxely: that would be fantastic. So that we couldn't get into Van Wezel. We're presenting at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 

Robyn Bell: which is another on a high school campus, but an amazing performing arts center. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah, 

Robyn Bell: yeah. 

Linda Moxely: We're really looking forward to that. And, there again, ordinarily it's hard to get into there and, it's completely sold out at this point. We have a waiting list and, um, 

Robyn Bell: wow. 

Linda Moxely: And, there's gonna be an art exhibit. Evening 

Robyn Bell: nice. 

Linda Moxely: Of, 20 works of Ukrainian artists who have been doing their work in, Ukraine during the war. They're fantastic. They're for sale. So it'll be a really extraordinary evening. 

Robyn Bell: Did the orchestra bring those artworks with them?

Linda Moxely: They're having a collaboration with an organization that is an art organization that they're, um, said Sure. Come on the tour with us. And then those venues that have the space to, present them. Mm-hmm. , we'll do it. So we're one of those because the Venice Performing Arts Center has such a beautiful, big lobby so that they can display it.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. It's tremendous. Yeah. Yeah. So, oh, so that's coming up. , 

Linda Moxely: Wednesday, next Wednesday, January, Wednesday, January 18th, January eight.

Robyn Bell: But there's no reason for us to market that because it's sold out and you have a wait list. Congratulations. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Have a wait list. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Too bad you can't add a second performance, cuz I bet it would sell out as well.

Linda Moxely: I know. No, I know. Yeah. But they're on a 40 city tour and they're just zooming. We're the only Florida West coast destination of the tour. But then they're gonna. All over the country. 

Robyn Bell: How interesting. How interesting. So this leads me to a question. I wanna talk more about this season and what all you have coming up, but just organizational wise, do. Groups and agents representatives reach out to you to book? Or do you have certain groups that you reach out to them and say, I have an opening date here, and how does all of those pieces of the puzzles work together? 

Linda Moxely: Well, remember, my background's marketing and pr. So the hiring of artists is a, a little bit new to me.

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: And I've done a little bit of it, so it's been a big, learning but fun experience. So the agents, usually it's. two way. But you know, there are certain agents, that we work with regularly, so they know to call me and say, mm-hmm , here's what we've got coming. , like we have 20, 24 basically already booked.

Robyn Bell: Yeah, 

Linda Moxely: we haven't announced it yet, but we're working on 2025, believe it or not. So I'm,

Robyn Bell: I do, I'm, yeah, I'm three years out for my pop, so I know what that is. Yeah, 

Linda Moxely: yeah. So, so we're already talking about people. 

Robyn Bell: People, they'll contact me, they go, Hey, we, I don't wanna perform. And I go, okay, I got, I got an opening in 2027. And they're like, what? ? Yeah. So that's a good feeling to have. Yeah.

Linda Moxely: It's, it's So they tell us what orchestras are touring. So for example, usually a big American orchestra, you know, like Chicago Symphony or Cleveland Orchestra, they have one week when they're gonna be touring, in Florida, cuz they have a very busy, full-time schedule of their own mm-hmm. So either we can make it work , or we can't and we don't own our own venue. So basically have to go to, van Wezel mm-hmm. and say, can we have this date? Or we need to wait. everything else that they're sure that they're planning to present. So sometimes we don't get what we would like or we don't get it in the year that we like. It's a little bit easier for the solo artists and the chamber ensembles cause it's a little easier for them to, plug in a date. They, they don't have a set time when they need to be. On the road. And the European orchestras usually have a pretty massive tour. When they come over here. They don't just do a week, but they too might do a region and you can only get them for particular week. It's a wonderful dialogue. And I'll write down all the possibilities. And then there's also the make sure we don't have one concert one day and another concert the next day. So we try to space it out a couple of weeks. 

Robyn Bell: Sure. 

Linda Moxely: So sometimes things just don't work cuz of the timing and then the artist selection committee of the board, we get together, we sort of talk about all the possibilities and then it's a lot of sort of 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: Back and forth to kind of get it all, planned out and the date. the fee and all those kind of things. 

Robyn Bell: So Riverview, Venice Performing Arts Center this year. Van Wezel your solos, when you bring solo artists there at Riverview, 

Linda Moxely: it depends who they are. Emmanuel Ax, you know, when we had him last year, he can fill, van Wezel. 

Robyn Bell: He's huge , 

Linda Moxely: but yeah, but usually, if it's not. as huge of a name. Riverview is just a wonderful. Acoustical space. 

Robyn Bell: And how many performances a year do you put on, 

Linda Moxely: great performers, usually five. And then if there are any special events like the two that we added this year four music matinee. 

Robyn Bell: And then of those five you bring in, if I remember like kind of two big orchestras. Mm-hmm. and then chamber music group, 

Linda Moxely: sil. Yeah. So usually two or three orchestras. Like this year we have three. And then one chamber ensemble and one. Solo.

Robyn Bell: So I'm interested, Linda, because you know, there's big talk around town about the Van Wezel and a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center, and then the Sarasota Orchestra building their own space. Are you guys talking about that? What's that going to look like for your organization? 

Linda Moxely: We are. Mm-hmm. , These venues have reached out to us to see what our, preferences might be or, the kinds of things. It, it's still four or five years off, 

Robyn Bell: thank goodness, 

Linda Moxely: it's being built and everything, but things seem to be moving along on, on various fronts. But, yeah, we can sell out. mostly , 

Robyn Bell: right? 

Linda Moxely: 1700 seats or you know mm-hmm. 1800 seats. 

Robyn Bell: And both of these new venues will be about that. So maybe you have, like, if you, if you have an orchestra coming in town and one is booked, this might be really good for you because then oh, well we can, 

Linda Moxely: yes, 

Robyn Bell: maybe we can have it at this venue instead.

Linda Moxely: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: This gives you guys more options. 

Linda Moxely: Right. So we will have options, which will be great because. As an example with these special events, we had to look outside of our usual venues to see where we could present them. Great. and the opera was, was a fantastic space, but not available to us during our, usual season.

Robyn Bell: Sure. 

Linda Moxely: And Venice Performing Arts Center, they're pretty busy with their high school events, so it's hard to get in there as well. So yeah, it will be nice to have more options, I think, for the community as well as for the presenters.

Robyn Bell: Right. And you do most of this. I mean, it's this Sarasota Concert Association, so it's in Sarasota. But I know we talked before we started recording that you have looked into doing things here at the Neel on the campus of the State College of Florida. Also, you know, we have a music program. They have a lot of performing dates. So maybe in the future that's an option for you guys to bring uh, 

Linda Moxely: absolutely.

Robyn Bell: A performance to us here in this community. Mm-hmm. . Cause they, I think we would support that a hundred percent. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. No, I would love. 

Robyn Bell: There's almost too many options sometimes .

Linda Moxely: Well, that's okay. Better.

Robyn Bell: It's a good problem to have. 

Linda Moxely: More than, than not enough. 

Robyn Bell: That's right. That's right. Alright, well tell us then about the rest of the upcoming season that you have planned for the organization and the patrons.

Linda Moxely: Okay, so after Ukraine, our actual. Official start of the Great Performance Series will be the Emerson String Quartet. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, they're wonderful. 

Linda Moxely: And they have been together for 47 years. This will be their finale. Uh, 

Robyn Bell: they're going outta business. 

Linda Moxely: They're going outta business . They're, they're retiring and, uh, I'm sure they'll continue doing other. Playing and teaching. But this will be the finale and Wow. That is nearly sold out. I will say that's at Riverview. Performing arts center and it should be a beautiful, very special, special performance. And then we have pianist, AWADAGIN PRATT who's coming, February 15th, also at Riverview.

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Linda Moxely: At 7:30 PM and he's gonna do a solo recital, everything from Philip Glass to Rachmaninoff Liszt and, 

Robyn Bell: all the good ones. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Great, things and he is head of the, piano faculty at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, so another 

Robyn Bell: full circle. 

Linda Moxely: Can't believe all these things. And whereas most of the artists that we have, we present. they're here for a day and then they go off to their, you know, another destination. , I'm trying to have, and we're starting this year, one artist that can at least stay over to do some outreach and possible, 

Robyn Bell: yes, 

Linda Moxely: masterclass teaching. So AWADAGIN PRATT, after his performance on February 15th, we're gonna go to Booker High School and he's gonna do some masterclass work with some of their piano students. And then I said, you know, he's a very inspir. speaker. Mm-hmm. , you know, it's just really great to talk to the kids about pursuing your goals, finding your passion doesn't necessarily have to be about music. Mm-hmm. , he's just, so he's gonna do that, for, several hours we'll be at Booker High School. Hard to do with a lot of the other, organizations that are here for a day and then they're off to the next. 

Robyn Bell: That's right. 

Linda Moxely: You know, city. 

Robyn Bell: Yep. 

Linda Moxely: But I'm trying to do that, that we might do that as a, regular feature, so he'll be, That,

Robyn Bell: and I'm gonna interject here because you know, here at the State College of Florida, we have an a hundred students in our music program and on Fridays at 11 o'clock they all come together. The music majors for a class we call Recital Hour. In this, they, the students perform for that, but we often bring in guest speakers and performers, masterclass. And so keep us in mind as well, cuz we are just right up the road from Booker. We have an amazing recital hall, 150 seats, which is where the, the class is held. So please, the State College of Florida would love to have any of these wonderful performances come in. And there's funding for that here through the State College of Florida foundation. 

Linda Moxely: That would be fantastic. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, 

Linda Moxely: I would love to. Is it just Fridays? 

Robyn Bell: Fridays at 11? Yes. 

Linda Moxely: Fridays 11. Okay. Because sometimes, you know, our performance. On, on a regular day, mostly because one, wherever we can get the date and the venue and everything, but, but that'd be great to, yeah. You know, put in mind we might be able to plan something. 

Robyn Bell: Exactly. If they have a Thursday night performance to stay over, or maybe they have a Friday night performance, they come in the day before, you know something. Along those lines, but we would love to be considered and a part of that.

Linda Moxely: Great. Okay. Would love to talk to you more about that. Sure. 

Robyn Bell: I can hook you up. 

Linda Moxely: Okay. , excellent. 

Robyn Bell: I'm your community outreach person. . 

Linda Moxely: Thank you. . So then, to wrap up this season, we have our three big orchestras. So the first will be Chicago Symphony, it's Ricardo Muti. 

Robyn Bell: They're pretty good. And he's retiring, right? 

Linda Moxely: Is last, this is last season as a music director. So another opportunity to see, not that they won, Tour again, but chances are they'll have a new music director when they're next on the road. So it's,

Robyn Bell: I've sent my application in for that, but they haven't called me yet. 

Linda Moxely: Oh, okay. Well I know they're still searching so that, you know, this takes a while, So, but, but an interesting, so that's March 1st at at van Wezel. Interesting story of about them is when I was working for the San Francisco Symphony, we present. A series of orchestras and one of them was the Chicago Symphony for two performances, in San Francisco. And now this goes back to 1987. Okay. Uhhuh . And it was an end of January. It was a sold out matinee concert, three o'clock and. now, 1987, I think people were just starting to get cell phones, but they were like, 10 pounds and $4,000 and everything. So 

Robyn Bell: yes, it was like a big purse. Yes. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. So a little bit of a mystery. But anyway, typically what happens when a, orchestra tours is the orchestra arrives by bus you or flight, you know, by bus. Usually two buses. And then there are trucks that bring the wardrobe trunks. Mm-hmm. and the instruments. Mm-hmm. . Now some musicians have the option of carrying the instruments with them. They have to carry it the entire tour if they do that. But typically your concert master, some of the other string players, usually the ones that have the little instruments, obo, flute, you know, they just kind of carry them.

Robyn Bell: Right. 

Linda Moxely: So the musicians got. But the two trucks were not to be found, , that had all their clothes and all the instruments or most of the instruments. One truck, ran into a snowstorm between Chicago and San Francisco and a flat tire, and the other truck was stopped by agricultural inspectors at the Arizona California border for just a routine check, but discovered the drivers didn't have their paperwork in order, so they were delayed. I, I don't believe that message really got to the musicians in the, 

Robyn Bell: because it wasn't quick communication. But then, yeah, we're gonna send a letter. Whatcha are you gonna do to 

Linda Moxely: know, you know, 

Robyn Bell: there's no email, 

Linda Moxely: a phone or something. Yeah, yeah. So all the musicians were there and it's like, 

Robyn Bell: where's our stuff?

Linda Moxely: No, no clothes, no instruments. So what happened was, I think one of the things that you know arts organizations are able to pivot really quickly because we deal with crises it seems like all, all the time. So 

Robyn Bell: in every rehearsal, 

Linda Moxely: so much gigantic and some are very small. But this was a, this was a pretty big one. So, so what ended up happening is, . There were 12 musicians, or at least 12 that had their instruments with them. Sir George Solti was the music director of the Chicago Symphony at the time, and what they ended up doing was unrehearsed chamber music for the first hour while they're waiting for the trucks to arrive. Not knowing when the trucks would arrive. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: And so the audience was all there. It was completely sold out, so they were treated to this wonderful hour of chamber music. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Linda Moxely: Including, What made national news was Sir George Solti made his piano debut in the US performing a Mozart piano quartet with principles of the orchestra.

Robyn Bell: Unrehearsed. Really? I bet just 

Linda Moxely: Well, they, they just were there and said, we're gonna do it cause they're wearing their street clothes. Remember ? So they're so close. 

Robyn Bell: That's an amazing story. 

Linda Moxely: So then there was still the, well, what do we do to be able to put on the rest of the performance? So we were calling San Francisco Symphony musicians, asking them, could the Chicago Symphony borrow your instruments so they can do their concert? And it was not only San Francisco musicians that were called, it was the youth orchestra. Mm-hmm. was the local music stores. So there was all kinds of instruments that were delivered to the hall. . So they performed the concert, in street clothes with borrowed instruments.

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Linda Moxely: And um, , the trucks finally arrived at 9:00 PM so it was way late. 

Robyn Bell: That's one of those legendary stories though, you know? 

Linda Moxely: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Let's make it work. Wow. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah, so 

Robyn Bell: teamwork,

Linda Moxely: it, it was an incredible, you know, it was kind of an incredible experience. But yeah,

Robyn Bell: you have to share that when the Chicago Symphony comes through. Right. You have to tell them that story. 

Linda Moxely: They actually know it cuz I called them to find out some of the details. I was a little hazy on, you know, and they've actually, in their archives, they kind of wrote up and they sent me all the, articles that appeared. You know, 

Robyn Bell: they have it documented, 

Linda Moxely: they have it documented to Chicago Sun Times, cuz I said, you know, I, I was there, but that was a long time ago. You know, I'm sure I'm a little foggy, but I do remember calling musicians, can you bring a new instrument? We have this

Robyn Bell: and don't eat the Turkey. You were that. No, no. That's a different story . 

Linda Moxely: So, so that'll be a really special, they're doing Beethoven Symphony number eight and Moussorgsky's pictures from an exhibition.

Robyn Bell: Exhibition, yeah. 

Linda Moxely: And then we have the English Chamber Orchestra, from London. And I think they're like the most recorded chamber ensemble in the world. I think it's like 20 or 25 musicians. 

Robyn Bell: Nice. 

Linda Moxely: And they're gonna be doing really nice, program. Also at Van Wezel. That's on March 12th, Sunday. And 

Robyn Bell: that's a, a big hall for a chamber orchestra. But do, do they make the they fit, they pull in maybe the sound shells and stuff. Okay. Okay. 

Linda Moxely: We'll put nice plants and you know, we'll fill it up with , little palm 

Robyn Bell: topiary, 

Linda Moxely: some things. Yeah. And then the finale of the season is the Buffalo Philharmonic with Joanne Falleta.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Linda Moxely: And their music director. Yeah. And they're beloved, in this region. So that's on March 27th. And, um, 

Robyn Bell: she's amazing.

Linda Moxely: She's amazing. And, um, just a wonderful musician. Just a wonderful, and 

Robyn Bell: she is guest conducted. The Sarasota Orchestra is well 

Linda Moxely: recently too. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Think she's, I don't know. I wonder if she's being, . 

Linda Moxely: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. But she has a long, I mean, she's very happy with Buffalo and she's just had a long career, done a lot of recordings with them and everything.

Robyn Bell: I'd be happy in Buffalo too, until I have to get my snow shovel out. 

Linda Moxely: Well, that's where I did my student teaching. Right. in the sub of her Buffalo, and I had to drive through. Yeah. Crazy snow. 

Robyn Bell: Where Please? Snow Mobile delivered at 8:00 AM please. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. Yeah. And they don't cancel school there, you know. Very, very rare. It has to be an ice storm. That's dangerous. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, well, they know how to deal with it. 

Linda Moxely: So a and then we have these wonderful music matinee. Mm-hmm. , which you can register for free 30 days, in advance. And we had pare, sort of a folk group. That performed, on January 4th. And then upcoming, we have duo pianists. Michael Barron and his student Priscilla Navarro, and they've played at Carnegie Hall and done some wonderful things. That's February 22nd. Hen young soprano and accompanist, Gregorio Zaris on March 17th, and then the principal cello for the Sarasota Orchestra. Natalie Helm? . And accompanist. Jesse Martin's on April 19th. So those are free and, , can register 30 days in advance. 

Robyn Bell: Now you and I both know nothing is free, so let's take a second. You, obviously you have income through ticket sales. Mm-hmm. , but you probably have a very robust grant and donor, situation as well. So who sponsors, these events, particularly the free ones? 

Linda Moxely: Yes. Well, we have, bay First Financial came in as a sponsor for us. This year for the music matinee, which is really wonderful. And we have, very generous board sponsors and, concert sponsors throughout the community that help make all of these concerts possible. Mm-hmm. . So we have individual sponsors and then we also receive, generous funding from the state and Sarasota County. 

Robyn Bell: Yep. 

Linda Moxely: You know, which are really great, the 

Robyn Bell: Cultural Arts, arts and Alliance grants 

Linda Moxely: and, yep. Yes. Yeah. Yep. So very fortunate that way. And, people really love the organization and very often if they come from, you know, I mean, everybody comes from someone else. Mm-hmm. , it's like, They really like to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic, where they lived in Chicago, wanna hear their Chicago Symphony. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Where the Cleveland Orchestra. Absolutely. All those Ohioans that moved down here. A hundred, a hundred percent. So I know you have, as we all do, sort of season ticket packages, but with things for selling out, that's gonna be a little harder to sell. So what, is your price point on your tickets? 

Linda Moxely: Well, we, are still selling five concert subscriptions. Okay. We do hold some of. , tickets back, but that series starts January 30th with the Emerson Quartet. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Uh, so if I buy a season of five, what? 

Linda Moxely: Five concerts? Yeah.

Robyn Bell: What kind of discount do I get? 

Linda Moxely: Well, you get, 20%. Off the price of single tickets for the, for the Great Performance Series and the packages range from just over a hundred dollars for all five. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Linda Moxely: To, the very best seats would be a little over $400. For the five,

Robyn Bell: it's still a great deal. 

Linda Moxely: It's a good deal. We try to keep our prices very low and I always try to keep a, a low. entry level price so that people can always afford to go. So usually $25, $30, $35, depending on the 

Robyn Bell: very nice

Linda Moxely: organization. 

Robyn Bell: Very nice. 

Linda Moxely: And then you can pick three concerts into a mini sub. And save 10%. And, we'll do group sales if 

Robyn Bell: Oh yeah. 

Linda Moxely: Groups wanna come, you know, 

Robyn Bell: groups of 10 or more, or. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. June of four. Yeah. Well, if you have 10, we'll help you out. 

Robyn Bell: We'll work you out. Just give me a call. My name's Linda Moxley. Just gimme a call. 

Linda Moxely: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Well that is excellent. So Linda Moxley, congratulations. 

Linda Moxely: Thank you. Thank you so much. 

Robyn Bell: Are now up. Officially part of the club. I have to say, PR people don't usually get as much applause as they deserve. So tell our listeners, they decide they want to attend these events, buy tickets to these concerts, where do they go? 

Linda Moxely: They can go to our website, which is sca Or you can call our box office, which is 9 4 1 9 6 6 6 1 6 1. 

Robyn Bell: Good. And we will put links to that. On our show notes. You also have, I'm sure, social media, Facebook. We do Instagram. 

Linda Moxely: Yes, we Facebook. Yes. Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Linda, are you on TikTok? 

Linda Moxely: I am not . I, I wouldn't even know how to begin . So, so 

Robyn Bell: I will hunt down all those links and put those in our show notes. So people wanna follow the Sarasota Concert Association and they wanna buy tickets and go online. They don't have to do any hunting. If they're listening on the web, they just click and go right there. 

Linda Moxely: And if they follow us on Facebook. Mm-hmm. , I usually try to put some behind the scenes photos, like when an artist comes into town or they're rehearsing or, yeah. You know, backstage afterwards we got some, got some really fun photos that I usually take myself with, like Trustee iPhone and then put it up there so there's a little more to people can enjoy if they, yeah. And that on Facebook 

Robyn Bell: is so much more enjoyable than just the real thing we wanna. Behind the scenes footage. Yes. Right. And Linda gives it to us. So it's been wonderful to meet you and find out more about this extremely history and special organization here to Sarasota and on the sun Coast, my best to you and the Sarasota Concert Association on your upcoming performances.

Linda Moxely: Thank you, Robyn. Really appreciate it. It's nice to be here.