The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra has announced its 2013-14 season, which will continue its efforts to bring new music and emerging artists to Lexington.
The season will start Sept. 20 with a concert including Adam Schoenberg’s American Symphony and include the world premier of a new work by Schoenberg April 11. Schoenberg is the second composer in the Philharmonic’s Saykaly-Garbulinska composer-in-residence program with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. He is also composing a new work for the festival, Aug. 20-25.
The Philharmonic season will also include a screening of the 1925 silent classic The Gold Rush with the musical score by Charlie Chaplin and, for the traditionalists out there, a season-ending performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9.
Guest soloists will start with violin phenom Caroline Goulding playing the Violin Concerto by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in September and a return visit by classical guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas, whose last performance with the Philharmonic was the very first concert in the orchestra’s search for a new music music director that resulted in the hiring of Scott Terrell. His October 2007 performance was with then-Philharmonic candidate Kayoko Dan who ended up being hired by the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras and served two seasons as their music director before going on to lead the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.
Terrell is entering his fifth season as the Philharmonic’s music director. Here’s the lineup of works and soloists.
Sept. 20, Revolution: Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring Caroline Goulding, Adam Schoenberg’s American Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Nov. 15, Fantasy: Engelbert Humperdinck’s excerpts from Hansel and Gretel; Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals featuring piano soloists Sonya and Elizabeth Schumann, and Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka.
Dec. 7: George Frideric Handel’s Messiah at the Cathedral of Christ the King featuring guest soloists and the Lexington Chamber Chorale.
Feb. 14, Tainted Love: Dominick Argento’s Valentino Dances, Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez featuring guitar soloist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, Felix Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring soloists and a combined womens’ choir from Asbury University and the University of Kentucky.
March 14, The Gold Rush. Full-length silent film featuring music score by Charles Chaplin.
April 11: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, world premiere by Adam Schoenberg, and Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto featuring cello soloist Narek Hakhnazaryan.
May 16: Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune, Osvaldo Golijov’s Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra (soloist to be announced), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 featuring soloists to be announced and a combined chorus from the Kentucky Bach Choir, Lexington Chamber Chorale and the Lexington Singers.
The season was announced at the Philharmonic’s March 1 concert featuring the contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird.
All performances are at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center for the Arts, except Messiah.
Subscriptions are currently available to only current subscribers. Subscriptions will ne available to the general public beginning May 1, ranging in price from $130-$350. Single concert tickets will go on sale at a later date.
For more information, visit lexphil.org or call (859) 2334226.
The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Music Festival of Lexington have tapped Adam Schoenberg, whose credits already include commissions for the Atlanta and Kansas City symphonies, as the 2013-14 Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence.
Schoenberg, 32, is the second composer in the commissioning collaboration between the orchestra and chamber festival. He will write an original work to be premiered at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in August at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, and then he will return in early 2014 with a new commission for the Philharmonic.
In a statement released by the Philharmonic, Schoenberg said, “It will be an honor to work with these organizations and share my music with the community for the first time. On a side note, I’m also excited to experience the bourbon trail.”
Schoenberg was born in Northhampton, Mass., studied at The Juilliard School with composers John Corigliano and Robert Beaser, and now teaches composition and orchestration at the University of California Los Angeles. He has won ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Juilliard’s Palmer-Dixon Prize for most outstanding composition, and the 2006 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is in the midst of a year as composer-in-residence with the Kansas City Symphony, which will premiere his latest work the first weekend in February.
Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell and Schoenberg met as students at the Aspen Music Festival.
The Saykaly Garbulinska partnership, created by Dr. Ronald Saykaly and his wife Teresa Garbulinska, who died last year, was announced in 2010. The first composer, Daniel Kellogg, worked with the 2011 festival and the Philharmonic in 2012.
The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra announced today that it has extended music director Scott Terrell’s contract five years, through 2018-19 season.
“Scott has ushered in a new era for LexPhil which has raised the bar for all of us who love music,” Gregory Jenkins, president of the Philharmonic’s board of directors, said in a statement. “This will provide the opportunity for Scott to further hone the core values of artistic excellence, innovation, collaboration and accessibility for our orchestra and will provide the time horizon to solidify the improvements made in Scott’s first several years.”
Terrell is currently in the midst of his fourth season as the Philharmonic’s music director. He was selected after a two-year, 10-candidate search for a successor to George Zack, who wielded the baton for the Philharmonic for 37 years.
During his tenure, Terrell led the Philharmonic through its 50th anniversary season and has introduced programming innovations including presenting the annual holiday season performances of Handel’s Messiah at area churches, initiating a commissioning partnership with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington and bringing numerous works never previously heard in Lexington to the stage. He has also broadened the auditioning pool for Philharmonic musicians to include more regional and national candidates and initiated new partnerships with a variety of area arts groups. Reviews of concerts have cited a steady improvement in the orchestra’s playing.
Announcing the current season, Philharmonic executive director Allison Kaiser said the Philharmonic had seen a 43 percent growth in its subscription base over the previous two years.
“My mission since arriving in Lexington has been to create a culture of curiosity surrounding music,” Terrell said in a statement. “I want people to be excited about what LexPhil is doing, and eagerly look forward to each of our musical adventures – because that is what the arts are at their best, an inspiring process of learning something new about our world, ourselves and each other.”
The Philharmonic’s current season continues in December with its annual Candy Cane Concert Dec. 9 at the Singletary Center for the Arts and Messiah Dec. 15 at the Cathedral of Christ the King.
During his 21 years in Lexington, University of Kentucky associate cello professor Benjamin Karp has become one of Lexington’s most recognizable musicians through his fluid playing style and a distinctive shock of curly hair. But until now, he hasn’t been a regular presence in the city’s leading arts group, the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.
Most of his orchestral work has been 80 miles up Interstate 75, as principal cello for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, a post he left 10 years ago, and with regular work with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
“A couple years ago, I went on the European tour with the Cincinnati Symphony and played the fabulous halls in Paris and Amsterdam and all over Germany and Spain, and nobody here knows,” Karp says.
Over the years, Karp has played as a soloist with the Philharmonic and occasionally as a substitute. But audiences are about to get to know him a lot better this week as he debuts as the Philharmonic’s principal cellist. He is one of nine new members of the orchestra and four new principal players who will debut at the Nov. 16 classics concert.
The longtime holder of that seat, Suanne Blair, is retiring after three decades. The opening had Karp, 56, sharpening his auditioning skills.
“I think it’s been 15 years since I have taken on an audition,” says Karp, who holds degrees from Indiana University and Yale. “So I had to make sure I could get back into audition shape and do it.
“I was practicing the excerpts five hours a day for a couple of weeks to bring them back up. And after that, I played for a number of people, because you can’t simulate an audition experience in the studio. You have to just play in front of people and see what that does for you.”
One musician for whom he often played while preparing for the audition was his wife, Margie Karp, a violinist and the Philharmonic’s assistant concertmaster.
“She’s a wonderful listener and critic,” Karp says.
When he was in St. Louis recently, he also arranged to be heard by three cellists in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to get their feedback.
“I got very nervous playing for them,” he says. “They all had good things to say, but the process of playing for them told me a great deal about what would happen to me in the audition.”
Overall, he says, the process of preparing for the audition made him more detail-oriented and a closer listener, all things he hopes to carry into his new post.
It was a job he says he really wanted, which is why he was willing to put himself on the line to get it. After all, before this audition, he enjoyed a profile in the music community as a gifted artist swimming in bigger ponds.
In the pre-concert talk (photo, above) pianist Alessio Bax has to caution himself against talking about Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini too much lest “I make myself nervous,” he said. “There are a lot of challenges.”
Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell says the orchestra had the man for the job.
“A lot of artists try to put their stamp on the music,” Terrell says to the audience gathered in the Singletary Center for the Arts’ President’s Room. “This requires the pianist to take the music that’s there and bring out the colors in it. That takes a seasoned artist, and we have one tonight.”
Noting that Bax plays every summer in Lexington with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Terrell said, “He’s a world-class pianist, we’ve wanted to have here a long time. It’s only taken three years.”
After playing the Star-Spangled Banner, the orchestra starts with Roberto Sierra’s Fandangos, a piece that sounds much like its name, clattering and blaring. At the pre-show, Terrell notes it was written for Leonard Slatikin and the National Symphony Orchestra and says the beauty of it is it uses a repeating pattern to create its world of growing energy. “It has three big arcs that lead you to the end” Terrell said. “It was a lot of fun to learn and play.”
That was America. It’s all Russian from here.
Bax and Terrell brought the mutual admiration society onto the stage, Terrell pointing out that the concert was the first of the Teresa Garbulinska initiative for new programs and emerging artists and noting the that Garbulinska’s widower, Ron Saykaly specified Bax be the first artist in the initiative.
Bax gives a crowd pleaser of a performance appropriately followed by the sounds of fireworks from Festival Latino a few blocks away during intermission.
Following the performance, Bax was in the lobby signing copies of his new Rachmaninoff CD, meeting old friends and getting a few serious offers to come back soon.
In his dressing room, he said, “It felt very good on the stage. We did a number of things different and everyone played right along. No one was on autopilot. We worked as a group well.”
When things are going that well, “we can make sounds and not just play notes.”
Having now experienced two Lexington area music groups, Bax said he thought the people and audience were the common thread.
“I feel very welcome here,” he said. “I imagine everyone does.”
After departing Lexington Saturday morning, Bax is off to travel the world with engagements in Denmark, Japan, Korea, Washington D.C., Dallas, Columbia and other locales.
(above: Bax is greeted after the concert by Dr. Ron Saykaly, whose new initiative in honor of his late wife supported Bax’s appearance.)
Heading backstage after intermission, Bax accidentally steered toward the stage. When told no one would mind if he went back out, he joked, “they would if I went to conduct Firebird.” Closing out the evening is Igor Stravinsky’s game-changing work.
Terrell recalled his first time conducting Firebird, when he was a student.
“As a student, you’re just trying to figure out the floor, the door, the window, the ceiling — how do we do this? You’re just trying not to mess up the orchestra.”
Terrell pointed out some of the challenges of the work and said, “It’s really a great way to show off the orchestra for the first concert of the season.”
He also recalled the 1910 premiere of of Firebird, which was met with jeers and hurled fruit.
“I would have loved to have been there,” Terrell said, “to hear those sounds for the first time.”
Judging by the enthusiastic audience response at this show, Terrell and the orchestra had a pretty good night.
A note after reading the review: I ran into percussionist James Campbell before Wednesday night’s rehearsal, and he said, “Any night you’re playing Stravinsky is a good night.” I guess it is.
Aug12Filed under: Balagula Theatre, Central Kentucky Arts News, Classical Music, dance, Downtown Arts Center, fundraising, Kentucky Theatre, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Theater, UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington; Tagged as: 2012 Campaign for the Arts, Community Arts Grants, General Operating Funds, LexArts
LexArts set a new record in its 2012 Campaign for the Arts, raising $1.05 million to be distributed among area cultural groups for general operating support and Community Arts Grants. But LexArts President and CEO Jim Clark said he plans to nearly double that take within the next five years.
Clark said a significantly larger haul of $2 million will be necessary to support the work of a number of groups that are pursuing ambitious goals such as the Living Arts and Science Center, which is undergoing a renovation that will double its space. Clark said campaign goals will likely increase incrementally over the next few years as LexArts works to bolster the donor base with organizations both in and out of Lexington.
“We’re doing national-level work and it deserves national funding,” Clark said.
He said the quality of work by local arts groups has been a big reason why the campaign raised more than $1 million for the seventh consecutive year, despite the recession.
“The product is strong, and it’s attracted strong supporters,” Clark said.
Along with the campaign haul, LexArts announced recipients of general operating support and community arts grants.
General operating support went to:
- Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, $22,500
- Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, $165,000
- Lexington Children’s Theatre, $120,000
- Lexington Art League, $60,000
- Lexington Singers, $9,000
- Living Arts & Science Center, $102,000
Recipients of Community Arts Grants, given for specific projects, were:
- Balagula Theatre Company, $9,000 to support its upcoming season of five full length plays, including a world premier
- Kentucky Ballet Theatre, $9,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, $8,000 to support its Kentucky Great Writers Series
- Chamber Music Festival Festival of Lexington, $8,000 to support its weekend festival and the “July Series,” informal pop-up concerts around town performed by young artists
- KY Women Writers Conference, Inc., $8,000 to support the annual conference
- Central Music Academy, $5,000 to support free music lessons for financially disadvantaged youth ages 8 to 18 years old
- LexingtonChamber Chorale, $5,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Headley-WhitneyMuseum, $5,000 to support its Improbable Baubles art program for middle school students
- Common Good, $2,500 to support a youth arts initiative blending traditional storytelling with digital multimedia design
- KentuckyMighty Wurlitzer Project, $2,500 to support the 90th Anniversary Celebration at the Kentucky Theatre
- Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, $2,000 to support the creation of abbreviated love letters to the city of Lexington, installed as temporary works of street art along Limestone.
Program notes at orchestra concerts almost always tell you where a work was premiered, usually well over a century ago, and we can only imagine what it was like to be there and here a work by, say, Ludwig Van Beethoven or Franz Schubert for the first time.
For the classical music fan, the experience of hearing a fresh new work can seem like something for generations past as we now just take in museum pieces.
That is changing though in Lexington, and Friday night’s Lexington Philharmonic concert was the biggest evidence yet that this is becoming a community interested in hearing new classical works by composers who are still with us, sometimes even in the same room. Commissions and world premieres have been rolled out by other organizations in Lexington, notably by the University of Kentucky’s ensembles and the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington.
But it is a powerful statement when the area’s flagship arts organization says it is going to prioritize new music and perform it on its major concert series.
Friday night we were treated to the world premiere of Daniel Kellogg‘s How Radiant the Dawn, and the operative word there is treat. The piece, the first in the Philharmonic’s Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence program, is Kellogg’s musical interpretation of the sunrise. He said in Thursday night’s Kicked Back Classics event, a prelude to Friday’s concert, that it wasn’t a programatic piece, but it was easy to see it that way.
Dawn opened with fluttering flutes that recessed into a steady tone before resuming flight. Soon, other colors were streaking across a developing meoldy, somewhat discordant but working toward a blazing unity. Among the many pieces of Kellogg’s sunrise were moments like a glissando in the lower strings, like birds crossing the horizon, and a short violin solo by Daniel Mason that was reminiscent of the orange shaft of sunlight that fired across pink clouds Wednesday morning.
Soon the sun was up, and we were in Gershwin’s bustling city or Copland’s west, Kellogg’s marriage of lush strings and proud brass giving this a distinctly American feel.
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.”
Ronald Saykaly didn’t know exactly what he was paying for.
The Lexington physician and his wife, former concert pianist Teresa Garbulinska, attended the inaugural Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in 2007 at the invitation of some friends.
At the first event, they met festival president Charles H. Stone. Saykaly says, “I was so impressed with what they did, the tremendous volunteerism and high quality of the performance, I told Charlie, ‘Look, if you ever need help, I’d be happy to help you with something.’”
Less than a year later, Stone came calling. He had met a young composer, Daniel Thomas Davis, and wanted to commission him to write a new work to be premiered at the second edition of the festival. Saykaly thought it sounded like a great idea. He had no idea what Davis would write and whether it would have a life beyond the festival, but he bought in.
“It turned out to be rather successful,” Saykaly says.
He has supported a commission at the festival each year since then.
Davis’ Book of Songs and Visions ended up being played around the United States and Europe, and it won the 2009 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. It came back around to the Bluegrass when Lexington Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell programmed a symphonic version of it for the orchestra’s 2010-11 season.
“I said, ‘Scott, you know, that’s my piece, and if you’re going to bring him here, I’d like to commission it,’” said Saykaly, who had joined the Philharmonic board about that time.
That planted the seeds for the Saykaly Garbulinska composer-in-residence program between the Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Festival, which will bring one composer to both orchestras every other year.
Davis’ Philharmonic commission last February was an informal start to the program. The commissioning of Daniel Kellogg, who wrote a piece called Look Up at the Sky for last summer’s Chamber Music Festival and will have a new work on Friday night’s Philharmonic concert, is the first formal manifestation of the effort.
“We sat down with Ron and said, we have these two entities,” says Terrell, who chooses the composer with Chamber Music Festival director Nathan Cole, a Lexington native and associate concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. “We have the orchestral entity where I, as a conductor, know there are composers really hungry to have new works commissioned. Then you have an organization that already has several new compositions under its belt. We said, there has to be a way this can work to our mutual strengths.”
It also can put Lexington on the classical-music map.
The centerpiece of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary is Saturday night’s (Jan. 14, 2012) concert of movie music at the Lexington Opera House. Leading up to the show, we have run two articles:
Click the play button, below, to hear our entire chat with Maestro Terrell about movie music:
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