As if that centerpiece to the festival weren't enough, Louisville also has its own Bach Society (Singing the B Minor Mass on April 18), the Louisville Ballet (staging Michel Fokine's Les Sylphides, March 26 and 27), and the Louisville Symphony (with violinist Silvia Marcovici on March 20).

Sarasota, Florida
Clustered in Sarasota on Florida's Gulf Coast are many of the state arts organizations, with The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as the centerpiece. This vast ornate Italianate villa was built in the 1920s by the circus magnate to house his eclectic art collection.

In addition to being the center of golf, good living, and gorgeous beaches, Sarasota is home to the first state theater of Florida, the Asolo (pronounced "Oslo"), which works in a modified English repertory format that means you can see, say in May this year, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hay Fever, I'm Not Rappaport, and The Smell of the Kill - four professionally produced plays - in one weekend.

But Sarasota isn't just for museum and theater devotees. Through most of March, the Sarasota Opera is staging The Magic Flute and Il Corsaro; the Sarasota Ballet dances James Buckley's choreography for The Rite of Spring in April; and Selby Botanical Gardens convenes the second International Orchid Conservation Congress in May. And all year, one of the country's most distinctively designed - and busiest - production centers, Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, presents touring programs of the widest possible range. The Dukes of Dixieland, Willie Nelson, the Moscow Festival Ballet, Kenny Rogers, and humorist Mark Russell all play the house in the first week of March alone.

Taos, New Mexico