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Guest artist returns to Florence for season-opening concert

Guest artist returns to Florence for season-opening concert

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FLORENCE, S.C. – Tonight at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, the Florence Symphony Orchestra will take to the stage with more than 60 musicians for the first concert of the 2021/22 “Bach to Broadway” season.

This season marks the 73rd year for the FSO.

A highlight of this “homecoming” concert includes guest artist John Hoffmeyer performing Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor by Rachmaninoff. Opening the concert will be “Fanfare for Today,” composed specifically for the FSO by Brandon Goff, an FMU associate professor of music technology. The concert concludes with Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor.

Hoffmeyer, originally from Florence, grew up attending the Montessori School of Florence and the International Baccalaureate program at Williams Middle School. He spent his freshman year of high school at West Florence before going off to Phillips Academy in Massachusetts.

He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated summa cum laude with a major in comparative literature and a certificate in piano performance. In 2019, he began his Master of Philosophy at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. While completing his graduate work in modern languages and literature, he has continued his piano studies.

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“It’s always a privilege to get to perform, but playing at home brings so many special factors into play,” Hoffmeyer said. “Apart from this past year, I’ve lived in New England, New Jersey and the UK since I was 15 years old, so my family and friends from home have rarely been able to attend my concerts. Getting to play with the symphony – in the same place I had my first performance with them back in 2012 – really feels like a ‘homecoming’ for me, and it’s a blessing for which I’m very grateful.”

This fall, Hoffmeyer started his PhD in comparative literature at Yale.

“While my studies do keep me busy, I hope to continue playing and performing as much as possible,” he said. “I’m not yet certain what shape it might take, but I’m also planning to continue organizing the kinds of interdisciplinary concert events that I was able to present at Princeton through my founding of the Princeton Chamber Music Society.”

Terry Roberts, the conductor and music director for the FSO, said, “I am always amazed and delighted of all the talent that comes from the Florence community. John is certainly one of these people, and I look forward to working with him this concert.”

In keeping with FMU policies, audience members are required to wear a mask or face covering while in the PAC venue. At this time, there will be no concession sales at the performance according to Bud Simmons, director of the FMU Performing Arts Center.

“We hope we can get back to that soon,” he said. “We are excited to start concerts again and will be announcing the PAC concert line-up in the next few weeks.”

The concert today begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the performance and for the full “Bach to Broadway” season can be purchased by calling the PAC ticket office at 843-661-4444 from noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Season tickets include five concerts and start at $125; senior and student discounts apply. Visit for more information.


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FLORENCE, S.C. – Beginning Friday, Florence One Schools students will not be required to wear masks. Florence One Schools Board Chairman Porter Stewart confirmed at Thursday evening's board of trustees meeting that the 60-day mask mandate implemented by the board in August will expire and that control over masks will return to the administration. Superintendent Rich O'Malley said at the meeting that the administration's policy would be to follow the recommendations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to strongly recommend but not mandate masks in the district's schools. 

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