UK Orchestra Opens 2017-18 Season With Beethoven, Brahms and Ives Tonight

UKSO web banner with Sey Ahn
New Assistant Conductor Say Ahn will join the UK Symphony Orchestra on stage for two pieces in the season's opening concert on Sept. 22.

LEXINGTON, KY. (Sept. 22, 2017) The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra will open its 99th season playing the most famous piece of music ever written, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, as well as work from Johannes Brahms and Charles Ives tonight. The orchestra will perform under the direction of Maestro John Nardolillo and new Assistant Conductor Sey Ahn beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture” and Three Hungarian Dances will serve as rousing openers for the UK Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the season. The orchestra will also play Ives’ American masterpiece. “Three Places in New England.” Nardolillo will conduct along with Ahn, who will lead the orchestra in Three Hungarian Dances and will serve as the second conductor in the Ives’ performance. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 will close out the night’s program.

A 2015 fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Ahn is the assistant conductor of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation’s Summer Music Festival and the Music for All Honor Orchestra of America presented annually in Indianapolis. She recently served as music director and professor of conducting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has been a guest conductor of all-state orchestras of Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa and Kentucky. Ahn has led orchestral performances in Walt Disney Concert Hall and Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, and Alice Tully Hall in New York.

Ahn earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University and master’s degrees in piano and orchestral conducting from the University of Southern California, where she was a student of Larry Livingston. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at the UK School of Music, where she studies with Nardolillo, and serves as assistant conductor to the UK Symphony Orchestra, UK Philharmonia and UK Opera Theatre.

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 that push the boundaries of orchestral music.

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 concerts 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 at 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