Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 30th anniversary

Orchestra started in 1993

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando’s own professional orchestra has served over 187,000 patrons, 85,000 children and families and one million students for the last three decades.

The orchestra is comprised of musicians from around the world. Riff On This sat down with founding board member and French hornist Mark Fischer and clarinetist Seok Hee Jang, a fairly new member of the orchestra who moved to Orlando this year, holding the second chair.

Fischer has been with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra since its inception and recalls how different it was back in the early 90s.

[TRENDING: It’s OMG hot in Fla. | WHOA! Large shark near swimmers | Become a News 6 Insider]

“When we began in 1993, we started as an orchestra that was really a service organization and our attitude was very entrepreneurial,” Fischer said. “It started very small, just performing Chamber Orchestra works in churches and it was about three years before we could build up enough financial capital to be able to present our first concert in the Bob Carr Theater”.

Check out every episode of Riff On This in the media player below:

Working closely with the Orlando Opera Company and Orlando Ballet as well as the school systems, the OPO was able to grow and expand over the years.

“So here we are, 30 years later, and now we walk into the new Steinmetz Hall, where I still pinch myself,” Fischer said. “Every time I walk on the stage, I look at the look up at the hall, I think this is unbelievably beautiful.”

A view inside the acoustically perfect Steinmetz Hall at its grand opening in downtown Orlando on Friday, Jan. 14, 2021. The third phase completes the original design of the $613 million performing arts center. (Roberto Gonzalez/AP Images for Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Jang shared a similar sentiment about the new Steinmetz Hall.

“For me as a new musician in the orchestra, I can’t imagine being here at a better time starting at a better time than our 30th anniversary season,” Jang said. “It’s such a piece of work, a piece of art, really, it makes us sound so much better. It’s a privilege to play in the hall.”

Jang said the move to Florida has been amazing and everyone has been extremely welcoming. He’s excited to work alongside the amazing musicians at the OPO.

Fischer said starting out on the administrative side of the orchestra and doing the business side of things for so many years, that now he is back playing with the orchestra it’s been nice to appreciate the artistic side of things again.

“I think Gil Yamaha said it best. He said, ‘This hall is an instrument. It’s not just a room. It’s an instrument.’ It’s a spectacular space. And in the future, I believe that this venue will cause the Orlando Philharmonic to become a more refined ensemble over time and already has in their first season, but it is a real joy to make music there,” Fischer said.

Be sure to listen to the latest episode of Riff On This to hear more about how Fischer and Jang got started as a classical musician along with more amazing stories from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. You will also get the latest on the rest of the season, plus a little inside information on what to expect next season as well.

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.