Classical piece commemorating St. Augustine airs nationwide on NPR’s Performance Today

Posted: December 11, 2015 – 12:25pm  |  Updated: December 14, 2015 – 10:48am
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Link to show on NPR’s Performance Today here

The St. Augustine Music Festival’s orchestral present to the city for its 450th anniversary will be heard nationwide Monday on “Performance Today,” America’s most popular classical music radio program.

“St. Augustine Suite for Chamber Orchestra,” by Jacksonville composer Piotr Szewczyk, is a four-movement piece that provides an almost cinematic soundtrack to St. Augustine’s turbulent and romantic history.

The piece begins with haunting evocations of the Timucuan natives, drifts into the majestic presence of the Atlantic Ocean, charges into battles at the Castillo de San Marcos and closes with the pulsing beacon of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The piece was commissioned by the St. Augustine Music Festival and given its world premiere at a June 27 concert in the St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica. Music lovers from around the world helped raise more than $10,000 to fund the piece and its performance through an online kickstarter campaign in April. Detroit Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Michelle Merrill led the premiere. A video of the performance, as well as contact information for making a donation for a CD recording of the performance, is available at

“Performance Today,” hosted by Fred Child, is broadcast on more than 290 public radio stations across the country and reaches about 1.4 million listeners each week. Locally, the show featuring “St. Augustine Suite” will air Monday, 7 to 9 p.m., on WJCT-FM, 89.9.

Local listeners can also tune in at the “Performance Today” website,, to hear the performance beginning at 9 a.m. the day of broadcast and for 30 days following the initial show broadcast.

The St. Augustine Music Festival is the largest free classical music festival in the country. With artistic director Jorge A. Pena at the helm, it takes place during the last two weekends in June.

The festival will mark its 10th anniversary in 2016 with another commissioned original piece by a local composer. The festival is funded through donors and sponsors committed to bringing world-class performances to all.

For information, contact David Breezing at 347-6260 or

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