The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
About a third of the way into Daniel Kellogg‘s Mozart’s Hymn the Lexington Philharmonic’s strings swelled and then burst, a luscious melody flowing under sparkling trills and tweets that carried the listener along.
It was enchanting, though the audience at the Philharmonic’s first Kicked Back Classics program of the season was somewhat prepared as Kellogg had just described for the audience how there were more than a dozen parts at work in that one moment of music.
“I love texture and I love color,” Kellogg told the audience. “And there’s no better way to do that than dividing the strings into 16 parts.”
In an interview last week, Kellogg told me that he likes to go places that let him talk to the audience about his music. In Kicked Back Classics, a program Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell developed to take the audience inside the music before classics concerts, Kellogg had an ideal format. Thurdsay’s program was a prelude to Friday’s Classics concert which will feature the world premiere of Kellogg’s How Radiant the Dawn, which the Philharmonic commissioned as part of the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence program.
The audience at the Downtown Arts Center was treated a complete performance of Mozart’s Hymn, which the Philharmonic will play in its April 26 Classics concert, as well as excerpts from How Radiant the Sky which depicts the sunrise Kellogg often watches from his studio outside Boulder, Colo. We were introduced to an opening flutter of flutes, chamber-like sections that lean on the principal players and a “seagull effect” produced by viola and cello players sliding their finger along the strings. The preview raised the curtain on a piece that seems to have a variety of colors in a brief window of time, sort of like a sunrise.
But we did not, of course, hear the whole thing. That’s for Friday night’s concert.
Kellogg said, “The piece is not complete until it is played by these people,” referring to the orchestra, “for an audience.”
State and regional officials joined with Kentucky Country stars Tom T. Hall and Montgomery Gentry Wednesday morning to reveal the locations for the first round of the Country Music Highway Road to Fame Competition.
The contest, announced Jan. 31 in Frankfort, aims to identify the next country music star to come out of the area around U.S. 23, which has produced stars such as Loretta Lynn, The Judds and Dwight Yoakam. That legacy earned the road the designation of the Country Music Highway by the Kentucky State Legislature in 1994.
In a video greeting, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, whose current hit is Where I Come From, lamented that opportunities for aspiring artists to sharpen their skills in area clubs and other venues weren’t as prevalent as they once were.
“A lot of those clubs moved to line dancing which pushed a lot of those musicians and entertainers and bands out,” Gentry said. “We support the Country Music Highway Road to Fame, and you should too.”
The American Idol-style competition will begin with four preliminary rounds in the middle of March. The locations are:
1 p.m. March 15: Expo Center ballroom, 126 Main St., Pikeville
1 p.m. March. 16: Mountain Arts Center band room, 50 Hal Rogers Drive, Prestonsburg
10 a.m. March 17: Paramount Arts Center, 1300 Winchester Avenue, Ashland
1 p.m March 18: Sipp Theater, 336 Main Street, Paintsville
The competition is open to people ages 13-35 who grew up in the 15 counties surrounding U.S. 23 (Letcher, Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Boyd, Greenup, Harlan, Perry, Knott, Magoffin, Morgan, Elliott, Carter and Lewis counties). Registration for each of the preliminary rounds will begin two hours prior to the start time.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich