Arts & Culture

UK Symphony Orchestra, Pianist Cliff Jackson to Perform 'Rhapsody in Blue'

photo of concert webpage for Cliff Jackson with UK Symphony Orchestra
Accomplished Lexington pianist Cliff Jackson will join UK Symphony Orchestra for a performance of George Gershwin’s audience favorite, “Rhapsody in Blue." The concert featuring Jackson will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, at Singletary Center.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2017) Accomplished Lexington pianist Cliff Jackson will join the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nardolillo, for a performance of George Gershwin’s audience favorite, “Rhapsody in Blue." The concert featuring Jackson will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

In addition to “Rhapsody in Blue” with Cliff Jackson, the orchestra will perform George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”; Aaron Copland’s "Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes,” which includes the famous “Hoe-down"; and Henri Tomasi’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra featuring UK junior Jonathon Nickell, of Vine Grove, Kentucky, the runner-up in the UK Symphony Orchestra’s concerto competition.

Pianist Cliff Jackson’s skill as a collaborative artist has earned him a place on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Vienna Musikverein, the Teatro Colón and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The recently retired UK associate professor currently serves as a vocal coach for UK Opera Theatre.

Jackson, a native of Gary, Indiana, received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and pursued graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He was awarded a coaching fellowship by the American Opera Center at The Juilliard School, where he was a coach for two years. He was also the recipient of the Gramma Fisher Scholarship by the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

Founded in 1918 and made up of undergraduate and graduate musicians from across the United States, Asia, South America and Europe, the UK Symphony Orchestra has long served as one of the university’s most prominent musical ensembles. This year they continue that tradition with performances of some of the greatest works in the orchestral repertoire, alongside contemporary works which push the boundaries of orchestral music. Concerts will feature music by the likes of Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Gershwin, and by modern composers John Adams and Tomasi.

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 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. In 2004, Nardolillo joined the faculty at the UK School of Music, where he is currently serving as the director of Orchestras.

Doors for the UK Symphony Orchestra concert with Cliff Jackson open at 7 p.m. with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 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 859-257-4929, or in person at the venue.

UK Symphony Orchestra is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school 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.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue