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Today (Fri, Sep 22), Louisville Orchestra Makes Decca Gold Album Debut with All In, Featuring Galvanizing Young Music Director Teddy Abrams as Composer, Conductor, and Clarinet Soloist; Watch Today as Abrams Celebrates Release with Local Community on Facebook Live

This season marks 80 years since the founding of the Louisville Orchestra, and 70 since it became the nation’s first to issue its own recordings. Today (Fri, Sep 22), to honor these twin milestones, the orchestra makes its debut on the new Decca Gold label with All In, its first new release in almost three decades. Showcasing galvanizing young Music Director Teddy Abrams as conductor, composer, and clarinet soloist, the album explores relationships between popular styles in a joyful, genre-melting celebration of the communicative power of American music. Eager to celebrate their new recording with the local Louisville community, Abrams looks forward to spending the day talking with a number of the city’s radio and TV stations, as well as with local luminaries Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, and filmmaker Owsley Brown III. Click here to watch this special social media community day on Facebook Live, starting at 8am. As NPR Music observes, “If we’re relying on the younger generation to help boost interest in classical music, look no further than Teddy Abrams,” while Time magazine marvels, “A genre-defying orchestra in Louisville? Believe it. The locals do.”

The youngest Music Director of a major American orchestra, Abrams is also a prolific and award-winning composer. He explains:

“We have selected works that deliberately join together styles of music in a pluralistic – or American – way. The strength of our country’s art is both its great diversity of expression and our relationship with populism – the music of the people. The works in this collection all relate to American populism and iconoclasm (sometimes one and the same) as a central theme.”

All In’s focal point is the world premiere recording of Abrams’s ballet Unified Field, which draws on influences ranging from neo-Romanticism to jazz, funk, bluegrass, and the blues. Last season, when he and the orchestra performed its premiere in a special collaboration with the Louisville Ballet (for which Adam Houghland provided the choreography in a work he called Union), Arts-Louisville marveled: “I need to hear this composition again and again. … This was perhaps the best piece we’ve heard from the Maestro, and that is saying quite a bit.” Click here to see Unified, Owsley Brown III’s short documentary about the collaboration between Louisville’s two great cultural institutions, and the world premiere of Unified Field.

The new recording also includes Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring the Music Director – “a triple threat and then some in the classical music world” (San Francisco Chronicle) – as soloist, and selected songs by Abrams, Cole Porter, and vocalist Storm Large, who joins the orchestra to sing them. Click here to order All In.

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On the heels of the new release, Abrams and the orchestra join superstar pianist Yuja Wang for a season-launching program of Russian masterworks (Sep 23) that kicks off a characteristically adventurous lineup. Fall highlights include the world premiere of Abrams’s new genre-straddling work, The Greatest: Muhammad Ali (Nov 4) and “Why Beethoven?” (Oct 14), which offers an innovative and eye-opening approach to a timeless European classic. Reconnecting the orchestra with its remarkable past while reestablishing it as the cornerstone of today’s vibrant Louisville music scene, Abrams’s “tireless advocacy and community outreach” are, notes Listen magazine, “putting the history-rich Louisville Orchestra – and classical music – back on the map.” Click here for a complete schedule of the Louisville Orchestra’s 2017–18 season.

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 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 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. The feature-length, Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes A City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years.

High-resolution photos are available here.

Louisville Orchestra and Teddy Abrams, Music Director

All In

Label: Decca Gold

Release date: Sep 22

TEDDY ABRAMS: Unified Field (world premiere recording)

COPLAND: Clarinet Concerto (with Teddy Abrams, clarinet)

COLE PORTER, TEDDY ABRAMS, STORM LARGE: Songs (with Storm Large, vocalist)

Fall concerts in the Classics Series

All concerts in this series take place at 8pm at the Kentucky Center for the Arts

Sep 23

“Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninoff”

With Teddy Abrams, Music Director

FORD LALLERSTEDT (arr. S. Chang): Mumbo! Jumbo!
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, 1941 version (with Yuja Wang, piano)
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Oct 14

“Why Beethoven?”

With Teddy Abrams, Music Director

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7 in A (a breakdown by movement)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7 in A

Nov 4

“The Greatest Muhummad Ali”

With Teddy Abrams, Music Director

TEDDY ABRAMS: The Greatest: Muhammad Ali (with Jubilant Sykes, baritone and director; Jecorey Arthur, vocalist; Rhiannon Giddens, vocalist; dancers TBA; Rosie Herrera, choreographer)

All dates, programs, and artists are subject to change.

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© 21C Media Group, September 2017

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