Arts & Culture

UK Orchestra, Lexington Singers and UK Chorale Present Valentine’s Day Concert

photo of John Nardolillo conducting members of UK Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
UK Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro John Nardolillo, will join forces with UK Chorale and The Lexington Singers for a Valentine's Day concert your loved one will never forget.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2020) — Looking for Valentine's Day plans sure to warm your loved one's heart? Join the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (UKSO), the UK Chorale and the Lexington Singers for an evening of romantic music. The concert, featuring the classical music of some of the world's most celebrated love stories, will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. 

The concert will open with the Prelude to "Lohengrin," Richard Wagner’s story of medieval German romance, drawn from the legend of the Knight of the Swan. Next on the program is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s "Coronation Mass," written in 1779 to be performed at the Salzburg Cathedral. The concert concludes with ballet music set to two of the greatest love stories of all time. Sergei Prokofiev’s "Cinderella" is a dark version of the ancient fairy tale, while Maurice Ravel’s music for the Greek legend of Daphnis and Chloé is some of the most beautiful orchestra music ever composed. The second suite from "Daphnis and Chloé" will be performed for this concert in the stunning but rarely heard version for full choir and orchestra. The program will feature soloists graduate student Sydney Carbo, a soprano from Palm City, Florida; voice performance senior Catarine Hancock, a mezzo-soprano from Lexington; voice performance senior Ben Boutell, a tenor from Louisville, Kentucky; and Parker Van Houten, baritone from Louisville.

Founded in 1918, the UKSO is a 100-member all-student orchestra presenting more than 50 concerts each year, including classical, chamber and education concerts. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America 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 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 2010 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 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 serves as the director of orchestras.

UK Chorale is the premier mixed choral ensemble at UK School of Music and is made up of primarily upperclassmen and graduate student music majors. The ensemble prides itself in performing a wide variety of choral literature from Renaissance to 21st century. 

The Lexington Singers have been performing quality choral music including major works in Central Kentucky and around the world since 1959, making it one of the longest continuously performing independent community choirs in America. UK Chorale and The Lexington Singers will perform under the direction of Jeff Johnson, director of UK Choral Activities and artistic director of The Lexington Singers.

Tickets 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 University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.