Arts & Culture

UK Symphony Orchestra, Choirs Present Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to Close Out Season

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) and the UK Choirs celebrate joy for their season finale with a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 "Choral,” at 7:30 p.m Friday, April 22, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The concert will also feature Arvo Pärt's “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten” and Anna Thorsvaldsdóttir's “Metacosmos.” 

In Spring 2020, UKSO’s commemoration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Music director and conductor John Nardolillo is thrilled to celebrate Beethoven in front of a live audience and close the season with this beloved work. 

“Beethoven 9 is not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the great accomplishments of man,” Nardolillo said. “The impact of this piece of music cannot be overstated, and we have had a great time working on the score to prepare for the concert. We planned this performance for the spring of 2020, but could not perform because of the pandemic; we have been waiting for this performance for a long time.” 

Several UK alumni will take the stage as part of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Catherine Clark Nardolillo (BM’96, DMA’13), Ellen Graham (DMA’14), and Chris Burchett (DMA’23). Jesse Donner will also perform in “Choral.” 

Tickets for the concert are $10 for general admission, $4 for students and free for UK students with a valid UK ID before the day of the performance at the Singletary Center ticket office (plus processing fees). Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office online at, by phone at 859-257-4929 or in person at the venue. Children six and older are welcome.   

Mask-wearing is optional for audience members at UK School of Music events. If you or someone in your party are ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 we kindly ask that you refrain from attending in order to slow the spread of the disease. Thank you for attending responsibly. 

Founded in 1918, the UKSO is a 100-member all-student orchestra, presenting classical, chamber, opera and education concerts. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America, Africa 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 has 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 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.   

The UK Symphony Orchestra and the UK Choirs are housed in the School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The UK School of Music 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. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.