Friday Musicale began in 1890 as a meeting between 12 music-minded women in the home of Claudia L’Engle Adams. It grew over the years, eventually hosting its first public concert in 1896 at the Park Opera House. In 1929 it settled on its current location, though a fire in 1995 caused the building to be rebuilt.
Friday Musicales was originally intended as an event for women where they could enjoy world-class musicians in the company of other women. This changed in 1923 when men were finally allowed to join.
Over the years, Friday Musicale has hosted thousands of performances—most of them for free. Its stage has seen international and local classical, jazz, and world musicians including Nellie Melba, Walter Damrosch, Alma Gluck, Rosa Ponselle, Fritz Kreisler, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann, and Ignace Jan Paderewski. The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra even had its beginning at Friday Musicale.