Arts & Culture

A Nationally Orchestrated Experience

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2011) − As the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) takes up residence in the Commonwealth, the orchestra will make a stop in Lexington to not only perform for the residents of Central Kentucky but to also work with the student musicians of the critically acclaimed University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. Local audiences can see NSO on stage 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

The UK Symphony Orchestra is pleased to act as a presenter for the National Symphony Orchestra American Residency 2011 tour of Kentucky. The NSO, which arrived in the state on Feb. 17, is presenting concerts, workshops, outreach events, in-school performances, and master classes in a variety of venues across the state. Their stay in the Bluegrass runs from Feb. 22-24. 

The regional concert featuring the NSO will be preceded by a pre-concert lecture by cellist Yvonne Caruthers. Caruthers will offer insight into the evening’s repertoire. This event is free to concert ticket holders and will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the President's Room at Singletary Center.

Following the lecture, the NSO, under the direction of Hugh Wolff, will take to the stage at 7:30 p.m., at the Singletary Center. The concert will feature performances of "Route 66" by Michael Daughtery; Symphony No. 4 by Ludwig Beethoven; the suite from "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland; and Suite No. 2 from "Daphnis et Chloe" by Maurice Ravel. Tickets for this concert range from $10-$45 and can be purchased at the Singletary Center ticket office, in person, by phone at (859) 257-4929, or online at A processing fee will be added upon purchase. Proceeds from this concert will benefit the UK Symphony Orchestra's Outreach Endowment.

While the NSO is in town to perform, UK student musicians will also get to work with these professional musicians one-on-one in a series of 14 master classes. The sessions will cover strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. In addition, Wolff will work with the university orchestra, and give a master class with the university's conducting students.

The visit to campus is a wonderful benefit of the NSO's residency in Kentucky. "The NSO visit to UK’s campus for master classes and performances provides our students with the opportunities to learn from musicians who are the leaders in their fields," says Ben Arnold, director of UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. "Master classes, in particular, reinforce the learning going on at UK, but also often bring a new manner of looking at a score or an innovative approach to solving a technical problem. Most importantly these interactions are almost always inspiring for our students and encourage them to continue to work hard in pursuit of their art!" 

Off campus, Arlington Elementary School will host a performance and question and answer session with the Kennedy String Quartet on Feb. 23. UK School of Music and Eastern Kentucky University students and faculty will also participate in this event. Other local events with members of the NSO will include chamber concerts and arts advocacy discussions. A detailed schedule of all state programs can be found on the Kentucky Arts Council website at

The NSO's annual American Residency program is sponsored in part by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The 2011 Kentucky Residency is presented by the Kentucky Arts Council, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky General Assembly, and sponsored by Duke Energy. Outreach and chamber music programs are partly funded through the Kennedy Center Abe Fortas Memorial Fund for Chamber Music and a gift from Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.

In its 80th season, the NSO regularly participates in events of national and international importance, including performances for state occasions, presidential inaugurations and official holiday celebrations. Through its tours of four continents and performances for heads of state, the orchestra also fills an important international role. Historically committed to both artistic excellence and music education, the NSO became the artistic affiliate of The Kennedy Center in 1986. The orchestra itself numbers 100 musicians, presenting a 52-week season of approximately 175 concerts each year. Christoph Eschenbach serves as the music director for the NSO.

Wolff, one of today's most distinguished American conductors, is the 2011 Residency Conductor. He began his career in 1979 as the NSO's assistant conductor, and who since has enjoyed an international career, holding the position of music director with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, and other organizations.