Arts & Culture

UK Symphony Orchestra Opens 100th Concert Season With Alumni Soloists, ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’

photo of trumpets in UK Symphony Orchestra
headshot photo of Seth Morris outside with flute
headshot photo of Julian Kaplan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2018) The critically acclaimed University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro John Nardolillo, will open its centennial concert season by featuring alumni soloists Julian Kaplan on trumpet and Seth Morris on flute. The concert will include Hector Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival,” Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Flute Concerto, Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” and Modest Mussorgsky/Maurice Ravel’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

Flautist Seth Morris serves as principal flute with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and previously held the same position with the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestras. Morris also was a member of the New World Symphony and West Michigan Symphony and has performed with ensembles across the U.S. including the Houston, Detroit and Pacific Symphony Orchestras; American Ballet Theatre; and the Dallas Winds. He was a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, as well as a member of the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, and performed at the Bay View Music Festival. 

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Morris earned bachelor’s degrees in music and music education in 2007 from UK, a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, and a doctoral degree in flute performance from the University of Michigan. His teachers include Paula Robison, Amy Porter, Fenwick Smith and Gordon Cole. Morris is a William S. Haynes Artist.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Julian Kaplan and his family moved to North Carolina, where he began playing trumpet at age 12. He soon began studying with the then-principal trumpet of the Charlotte Symphony, Michael Miller. Kaplan earned his bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance in 2010 from UK, where he studied with Mark Clodfelter. He also was a student of Vince DiMartino. While at UK, Kaplan played at several large venues, including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and performed concerts in Greece and China. Shortly before graduation, Kaplan was appointed principal trumpet of the Lexington Philharmonic, where he played for two seasons.

After his time with the Lexington Philharmonic, Kaplan was appointed second trumpet of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, he was appointed principal trumpet of the orchestra. Two years later, Kaplan was appointed as principal trumpet of the Kansas City Symphony, his current appointment. He has also guest appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and St. Louis Symphony, among others, and he often performs as a featured soloist with chamber music groups.

Founded in 1918, the UK Symphony Orchestra 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. UK’s 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 Symphony Orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., toured 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 to more than 1.5 billion viewers. In the fall of 2010, UK Symphony Orchestra played for the opening ceremonies of the 2010 World Equestrian Games, a live 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

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 is currently serving as the director of Orchestras.

Doors for the UK Symphony Orchestra concert open at 7 p.m. with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $12 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). All ticket prices are inclusive of tax and fees. Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office online at, by phone 859-257-4929, or in person at the venue. Children 6 and older are welcome.

UK Symphony Orchestra is part of the School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary, 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