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Louisville Orchestra Celebrates Community and Collaboration with World Premiere of Genre-Bending Louisville Concerto (Oct 23 & 24)

An extraordinary commitment to local community has been an article of faith for the Louisville Orchestra since Teddy Abrams – at just 28 the youngest Music Director of a major American orchestra – launched his tenure there last season. Small wonder, then, that the orchestra’s most recent new commission should be a celebration of homegrown talent. Drawing on Louisville’s vibrant music scene, the Louisville Concerto is a group composition, featuring original material in genres ranging from hip-hop to indie folk by four of the city’s most compelling artists, as combined and orchestrated by the multi-talented Abrams himself. Under his leadership, the genre-bending concerto will receive its world premiere performances alongside Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory and “Eroica” Symphony on October 23 & 24, when the four artists – Will “Bonnie Prince Billy” Oldham, Jalin Roze, Scott Moore, and Danielle Markham – will appear together as soloists with the orchestra.

Abrams says:

“We are taking artists from Louisville, without regard to their genre, and giving these great musicians the opportunity to form a solo quartet. It’s almost as though it was a group concerto like Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Instruments.”

The four collaborators are all distinguished in their respective fields. Singer-songwriter Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) was named “the underground artist most likely to work his way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” (Independent, UK). Drummer Danielle Markham tours with the Grammy-nominated, percussion-centric alternative outfit Tune-Yards. Singer, fiddler, and guitarist Scott Moore, frontman of roots-y rock-n-roll band Niles Foley, impressed LEO Weekly as “staggeringly versatile and talented.” And rapper Jalin Roze has been described as “one of the most refreshing and downright talented artists we have, not just in hip-hop, but in any genre today” (We Listen For You). Sharing the orchestra’s commitment to their Louisville home, Roze explains: “My mission is to tell Louisville’s story from a real perspective.” As Abrams comments:

“The Louisville Orchestra is really a connecting organization when it comes to music in town. The orchestra is not just an entity unto itself, but also the musical fabric of this community. By bringing together all these different musicians, we want to give the sense that Louisville Orchestra is really a musical home for everybody. The musicians in the orchestra also enjoy it because they get to work with all these really fantastic people who are living in the same city.”

In the Louisville Orchestra’s upcoming “Eroica” concerts, the new concerto will be flanked by Wellington’s Victory, Beethoven’s unapologetically triumphant commemoration of the defeat of Napoleon’s elder brother at the Battle of Vitoria, and his stirring and iconic “Eroica” Symphony. This follows the orchestra’s season-opening presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS last month: with Abrams conducting a cast of hundreds that featured Grammy-nominated baritone Jubilant Sykes and a chorus drawn from the local community, Louisville’s ambitious production proved the latest in its string of recent success stories. As Arts-Louisville put it:

“This was by far, the most entertaining, emotionally moving, and evocative performance I have ever seen by the Louisville Orchestra. … The audience was packed. And they loved it.”

Additional fall highlights include November’s exploration of “The Bach Effect” on German composers from C.P.E. Bach to Wagner and Hindemith, and December’s seasonal Messiah selections.

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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 20th-century music by living composers, thereby earning a place on the international circuit and an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall. In 2001, the Louisville Orchestra received the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, presented annually to a North American orchestra. Continuing its commitment to new music, the Louisville Orchestra has earned 19 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, and was also recently awarded 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 collection. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for prestigious events at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Mexico City. The feature-length, Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes a City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years.

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Louisville Orchestra: upcoming performances

All concerts take place at Whitney Hall under the leadership of Music Director Teddy Abrams.

Oct 23 & 24
Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory
Will Oldham, Jalin Roze, Danielle Markham, Scott Moore (arr. Teddy Abrams): Louisville Concerto
(world premiere of new Louisville Orchestra commission, featuring Will Oldham, singer; Jalin Roze, hiphop artist; Danielle Markham, drums; Scott Moore, violin)
Beethoven:  Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”)

Nov 6 & 7
“The Bach Effect”
Strauss: Don Juan
Wagner: Overture to Tannhäuser
C.P.E. Bach: Sinfonia in B minor No. 5, WQ182
J.S. Bach (arr. Webern): Musical Offering
Hindemith: “Ragtime” from Suite “1922”
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551, “Jupiter”
Wolfgang Rihm: Nature morte

Dec 4 & 5
Messiah: Christmas Selections”

Dec 5
“Home for the Holidays: A Family Concert”

© 21C Media Group, October 2015

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