UKSO Kicks Off 95th Season with 'Living Landscapes' Concert
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2013) — The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) will open its 95th season of performances this weekend, in a concert celebrating its recent tour of China and the UK College of Fine Arts partnership with Inner Mongolia University. In addition to this milestone of an anniversary, the critically acclaimed orchestra will also celebrate its 10-year anniversary with award-winning conductor John Nardolillo at the helm.
On Sept. 27, UKSO will collaborate with musicians from the Art College of Inner Mongolia University as part of "Living Landscapes," a weeklong celebration of the arts and cultures of the two university communities. The concert will include a solo performance by horse-head fiddle soloist Sa Qi Rong Gui and an appearance on the UKSO podium by the conductor of the orchestra at the Inner Mongolia University, Banzar Lhagvasuren. UKSO will be also featuring a solo by Rui Li, one of UK’s own DMA students, a trumpet player who won last year's concerto competition and was a featured soloist on UKSO's tour of China last May.
In addition to performing music from Inner Mongolia, including music dedicated to UKSO by the composition faculty at University of Inner Mongolia, UKSO will be playing a selection of music from their recent tour of China. This will include Aaron Copland's “Appalachian Spring” and George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” which they performed at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
In October, UKSO will team up with the Lexington Singers and UK Chorale to celebrate Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday. This concert, scheduled for Oct. 25, will feature Verdi’s monumental "Requiem," and showcase a quartet of vocal soloists led by celebrated soprano Cynthia Lawrence, endowed professor of voice at UK.
The evening of Dec. 5, UKSO's concert will be devoted to the 40th symphony of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the second symphony of Johannes Brahms.
In the new year, UKSO will perform with the world's foremost pianist, Lang Lang. Lang's appearance at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing inspired 30 million children in China to begin piano lessons. His appearance with the UKSO, part of the Singletary Center for the Arts Signature Series scheduled for Feb. 9, is Lang's only concert with a student orchestra this season. He will be playing piano showpieces "Burleske" by Richard Strauss and “Andante spianato et Grand Polonaise” by Frédéric Chopin. This concert will also feature the "Roman Carnival" of Hector Berlioz and Maurice Ravel's orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."
On Feb.28, Pink Martini will return to the Singletary Center for a concert with UKSO. Featuring approximately a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America. Pink Martini's first appearance with UKSO was in December 2011.
On March 28, UKSO will showcase the winners of their concerto competition, highlighting the accomplishments of students in the UK School of Music. They will also present the world premiere of Symphony No. 2 by Thomas Pasatieri, which was written for UKSO after the success of the first performance of the Symphony No. 1 in September 2011. The work is for orchestra, soprano and children's choir, and has a soprano part written for UK alumnus Catherine Clarke Nardolillo who debuted the role of Elizabeth in Pasatieri's “God Bless Us Everyone" in New York in 2010. Albany Records recorded the first symphony, and will be on hand to record the second and third for an upcoming CD. UKSO will also perform Ravel's masterpiece “Bolero” on this program.
The season finale will feature a guest conducting appearance at UK by one of England's leading conductors, James Burton. Burton, who has been a conductor for the English National Opera, the English Touring Opera, the Garsington Opera, the Halle Orchestra, and who will be working at the Metropolitan Opera this fall, will lead the orchestra and combined UK choruses in a performance of Brahms’s, “Song of Destiny.” The concert and season will conclude with the Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection” by Gustav Mahler.
All of the 2013-14 season concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be held in the Singletary Center for the Arts.
Besides its own concerts, UKSO will be in the pit again this season for UK Opera Theatre performing in “Les Misérables” and “Don Giovanni.” In February, they have been invited to perform at the Kentucky Music Educator's Conference in Louisville, for an audience of several thousand music teachers from around Kentucky. UKSO will also perform outreach concerts around the state again this year, including concerts planned in Loretto, Hazard, Frankfort, Fort Knox and Louisville.
This year is a milestone for Nardolillo, as he reaches the 10-year mark conducting the UKSO. Since Nardolillo took the conductor's podium of the UKSO, it has enjoyed great success —accumulating recording credits and sharing the stage with such acclaimed international artists as Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, as well the Boston Pops. Nardolillo has appeared with more than 30 of the country’s leading orchestras. In the fall of 2010, he was the music director and conductor for the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. UK Symphony Orchestra is one of a very select group of university orchestras under contract with Naxos, the world's largest classical recording label.
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