Harpist Katie Ott featured in NFSO season opening concert

Special to The Log

The 2015-16 season of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra opens Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mainstage Theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville. The “French Accents” concert explores the great French musical traditions of the 19th century and features NFSO principal harpist Katie Ott of Walton County performing the music of Debussy. The eclectic program will also feature the Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz as well as Caesar Franck’s majestic Symphony in D minor.

The non-profit NFSO is in its 29th year as the Emerald Coast’s premier professional orchestra and the orchestra’s season includes a range of international guest artists and world music in 10 separate concerts, guest artist recitals and nationally touring special events.

Jeffrey Rink, NFSO music director and conductor, noted that the opening concert is slated to be one of the most unique and beautiful concerts the orchestra has presented in its nearly 30-year history. An active performer, Katie Ott’s playing has been described by the Mobile Register as having “a shimmering ethereal quality that demonstrates why she is so much in demand by orchestras along the Gulf Coast." She is currently principal harpist with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra & Opera, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra & Opera and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. Ott plays regularly with many orchestral, chamber and choral groups throughout Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. As a soloist, she has performed major works including Sacred and Profane Dances by Debussy and Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp and Angel’s Harp, composed by her father David Ott.

Katie Ott’s “playing was always stylish and deftly articulated” noted music critic, Lawrence Budman who commented that her performances are “played with ravishing elegance and élan.” She began her harp studies at the age of seven with Harriet Moore of DePauw University. Ott holds a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from the University of West Florida and has previously been an adjunct music instructor at UWF in addition to her private studio instruction.

Tickets for the Sept. 19 “French Accents” concert are $25 adult, $18 youth and $18 for active duty military members with up to four guests, from the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office at 850-729-6000 or online at www.MattieKellyArtsCenter.org. Season packages and individual tickets for all five of the NFSO’s regular season concerts, as well as two national touring Special Events and three Guest Artist piano recitals are also now on sale. Season packages offer a discount over individual ticket prices.