January 27, 2021
Louisville Orchestra and Teddy Abrams (photo: G. Lefkowitz)
After launching last fall to a chorus of critical acclaim, “LOVE” (Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition) returns this spring with four new streaming programs, three conducted by galvanizing young Music Director Teddy Abrams and two featuring cross-genre collaborations with Jecorey Arthur and Sarah Jarosz respectively. Like the orchestra’s fall offerings, all four spring programs will stream live from Louisville’s newest venue, Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, and will subsequently be available for on-demand viewing. As Vogue magazine concluded in its recent feature on the orchestra’s season-opening LOVE concert: “In Kentucky, the times are very much a-changing.” Click here to see Abrams and the orchestra perform “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with special guests Daria Raymore and Jason Clayborn.
Teddy Abrams comments:
“Our spring season is a further exploration of our commitment to creativity and service in these unsettling and exhausting times. I believe that our work can help our city heal and find joy amidst the darkness, and our programs reflect our dual mission of providing a deeper connection to our world and an escape from the anguish and tragedies of this moment. Despite everything we’re facing, the Louisville Orchestra has never sounded better, and I cannot wait for our musicians to show off their talents in works like John Adams’s Chamber Symphony and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas. Our longtime mission of bridging musical styles to support a more unified community will be celebrated in two major collaborations: Jecorey Arthur is presenting a journey through Black music, from West African drumming to hip-hop today, and Sarah Jarosz – one of my favorite singers alive! – is performing a world premiere orchestral set that we are building with her. Our work continues with renewed energy because this is what our city deserves.”
To kick off the spring season, Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra explore the Classical style through a pair of symphonies, juxtaposing Mozart’s tranquil 39th with Chamber Symphony, a late-20th-century masterpiece by John Adams (livestream Feb 13; on-demand Feb 26–April 11).
Next, Abrams and the orchestra investigate the folk traditions of three continents through Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout and a collaboration with three-time Grammy-winning American roots singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz, who joins them for the world premiere of orchestral arrangements of her own songs (livestream March 6; on-demand March 19–May 2).
For their third and final program together, the Music Director and orchestra celebrate the influence of Black culture, pairing Ravel’s jazz-inflected Piano Concerto in G, which the versatile Abrams will lead from the keyboard, with a survey of seminal Black musical styles led by Louisville rapper Jecorey Arthur (livestream March 27; on-demand April 9–May 23). Recently elected as one of Louisville’s Metro Councilmen, Arthur previously collaborated with the orchestra for an audience of 35,000 at its 2014 Independence Day Waterfront concert and headlined its world premiere performances of Abrams’s grand-scale work The Greatest: Muhammad Ali.
To complete the series, the Louisville Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt takes the podium for a festive celebration of ragtime, blues and jazz, featuring trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling, piano soloist Bobby Floyd and percussionist Robert Breithaupt in music by “Jelly Roll” Morton, W.C. Handy and others (livestream April 10; on-demand April 23–June 6).
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When Abrams and the orchestra launched LOVE last fall, the virtual series was an instant hit. The season-opening livestream, featuring bass-baritone Davóne Tines in the orchestral premiere of VIGIL, his tribute to slain Louisville native Breonna Taylor, was hailed as “a well-produced and thoughtful concert that promises a safe and welcome alternative” to live performance (89.3 WFPL News Louisville). Reporting live on Twitter, long-time classical music critic Steve Smith – writer and editor of the Night After Night newsletter and a regular contributor to NPR and the New Yorker – called the program “a very impressive showing – a powerful start to the Louisville Orchestra season.” Similarly, when Abrams and the orchestra collaborated with Kentucky newgrass legend Sam Bush, Arts-Louisville marveled:
“The orchestrations added such a lovely, deeper sound and vibe to many of the songs and allowed what were perfectly lovely pieces to absolutely shine even brighter. … There were smiles for miles in the Paristown Hall. … Uplifting and needed after what we have been experiencing in the past year, it was a great reminder to embrace those simple gifts that have the largest impact. Bravi Tutti!!”
About the Louisville Orchestra
Established in 1937 through the combined efforts of Louisville mayor Charles Farnsley and conductor Robert Whitney, the Louisville Orchestra is a cornerstone of the Louisville arts community. With the launch of First Edition Recordings in 1947, it became the first American orchestra to own a recording label. Six years later it received a Rockefeller grant of $500,000 to commission, record, and premiere music by living composers, thereby earning a place on the international circuit. In 2001, the Louisville Orchestra received the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, presented annually to a North American orchestra. In recognition of its continued commitment to new music, the Louisville Orchestra has won 19 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, as well as large grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the National Endowment for the Arts, both for the purpose of producing, manufacturing and marketing its historic First Edition Recordings collections. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for prestigious events at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and on tour in Mexico City, and its last two albums for the Decca Gold label, All In (2017) and The Order of Nature (2019) – the latter launched with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – both topped the Billboard Classical and Crossover charts. The feature-length Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes a City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years, and in spring 2018 Teddy Abrams and the orchestra were profiled on the popular television program CBS Sunday Morning.
High-resolution photos are available here.
Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition (LOVE) presents Spring 2021 Season
“Classical Pairing: W.A. Mozart + John Adams”
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Livestream: Feb 13 at 7:30pm
On demand: Feb 26–April 11
John ADAMS: Chamber Symphony
W.A. MOZART: Symphony No. 39
“Homecomings: Musical Journeys of Uncommon Folk”
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Livestream: March 6 at 7:30pm
On demand: March 19–May 2
Béla BARTÓK: Romanian Folk Dances
Gabriela Lena FRANK: Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout
Sarah JAROSZ: orchestral set (world premiere; with Sarah Jarosz, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist)
“Abrams Plays Ravel”
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Livestream: March 27 at 7:30pm
On demand: April 9–May 23
Maurice RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G (with Teddy Abrams, piano)
Additional works TBD (with Jecorey Arthur, rapper and curator)
“Wailing Trumpets: Ragtime & Jazz”
Bob Bernhardt, conductor
With Byron Stripling, trumpet; Bobby Floyd, piano; Robert Breithaupt, drums
Livestream: April 10 at 7:30pm
On demand: April 23–June 6
CREAMER/LAYTON (arr. Tyzik): “After You’ve Gone”
Irving BERLIN (arr. Tyzik): “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”
MILLS (arr. Tyzik): “St. James Infirmary”
TRADITIONAL (arr. Tyzik): “Down By The Riverside”
W.C. HANDY (arr. Tyzik): “St. Louis Blues”
“Jelly Roll” MORTON (arr. Tyzik): “Black Bottom Stomp”
TRADITIONAL: “This Little Light Of Mine”
HOWE (arr. Albam): “Battle Hymn Of The Republic”
TRADITIONAL (arr. Cook): “When The Saints Go Marching In”
All dates, programs, and artists are subject to change.
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© 21C Media Group, January 2021