Arts & Culture

UK Symphony Orchestra opens 104th season with Ravel, Berlioz

UK Symphony Orchestra with John Nardolillo conducting at Carnegie Hill
photo of Salina Fisher in hallway playing violin

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (UKSO), under the direction of John Nardolillo, has announced its 104th season of concerts. The orchestra will return to the concert hall with Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” and Hector Berlioz “Symphonie fantastique” Sept. 23, at the Singletary Center for the Arts. The 2022-2023 UKSO season will continue with several Kentucky premieres as well as works from several living composers including composer-in-residence Salina Fisher.  

The opening concert featuring “Bolero” will include the Kentucky premiere of Gabriella Smith’s “Tumblebird Contrails.” UKSO's opening concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. 

The following month UKSO will present Richard Strauss’ “Death and Transfiguration.” The program will also include Cesar Franck’s “Psyche et Eros,” Jean Francaix’ “The Flower Clock,” and Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.” Joining Maestro Nardolillo for conducting duties will be UK doctoral students Sean Radermacher and Merih Erdem Özden. The concert will feature soloists and UK alumnae Taylor McLellan, on oboe, and Concerto Competition winner, Abby Temple, on trumpet. This concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at the Singletary Center. 

To close out the Fall 2022 semester, UKSO will present Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 “The Great.” This program will also feature another Kentucky premiere, Florence Price’s “The Oak.” This concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Singletary Center. 

UKSO will open its spring semester with three works by composer in residence Salina Fisher: the U.S. premiere of “Kintsugi” and the Kentucky premieres of “Murmuring Light” and “Tupaia.” This concert will also feature William Walton’s Viola Concerto and Sergei Prokofiev’s Suite from “Romeo and Juliet.” The concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at the Singletary Center. 

The following month, UKSO will perform with guest violinist Jennifer Koh. Koh will play the Kentucky premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s “Processions” Violin Concerto. This concert will also include the Kentucky premiere of Outi Tarkiainen’s “Songs of the Ice” and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. This concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Singletary Center.  

The season finale will see UKSO join the UK Choirs and the Lexington Singers on stage for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.” UKSO's season finale will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at the Singletary Center. 

Founded in 1918, the UKSO is a 100-member all-student orchestra, presenting classical, chamber, opera and education concerts. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. The orchestra has regularly performed with world-renowned concert artists including Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, Sarah Chang, Gil Shaham, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, Denyce Graves, Christine Brewer, Pink Martini, Ronan Tynan, Mark O’Connor, Wynonna Judd, Keith Lockhart and Arlo Guthrie. 

UK’s orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., tours the state of Kentucky regularly, and has toured China, playing concerts in major concert halls in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Yangzhou and Beijing. The orchestra’s performance at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts was broadcast on China Central Television, a network reaching more than 1.5 billion viewers. In the fall of 2010, the orchestra played for the opening ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games, a performance that featured more than 1,500 performers and 200 horses that was seen live on NBC in the United States by 39 million people, and by an estimated 500 million more television viewers worldwide. 

Maestro John Nardolillo has appeared with more than 30 of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and principal orchestras of Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, Utah, Columbus, Indianapolis, Oregon, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Alabama, Louisville, Missouri, North Carolina, Toledo, Vermont, Columbus, Omaha and Hawaii. He also recently conducted concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; and Carnegie Hall in New York. Nardolillo made his professional conducting debut in 1994 at the Sully Festival in France and has since made conducting appearances in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic and China. He has led major American orchestras in subscription series concerts, summer and pops concerts, education concerts and tours, and for television and radio broadcasts. Nardolillo is the artistic director of the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival, and in 2004, he joined the faculty at the UK School of Music, where he serves as the director of orchestras. 

Tickets for UK Symphony Orchestra concerts are $10 for general admission, $4 for students, and free for UK students with a valid ID before the day of the performance (at the Singletary Center ticket office). Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office online at, by phone at 859-257-4929, or in person at the venue. Children 6 and older are welcome. 

The UK Symphony Orchestra is housed in the School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The UK School of Music has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.