Literature has ever laid its influence on composers.

The words of essayist, novelist, and civil rights activist James Baldwin are brought to life in the deeply moving demand for justice by the Emmy-award-winning composer Joel Thompson. Best known for his largest work to date, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, Thompson is finding new listeners around the world. Leonard Bernstein, influenced by poet W. H. Auden’s work of the same title, explored existentialism in the modern world. Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 explores the seven ages of Man with the piano soloist as the protagonist.  In addition, one of the new Creator Corps members will be tasked with writing a new work inspired by literature to premiere at this concert.

Sebastian Chang‘s first major performance as a piano soloist was in his own composition Concertino for Piano and Orchestra with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at the age of 9. Sebastian obtained his B.M. in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music & an M.M. in Composition from the University of Southern California. Chang is a regular collaborator with the Louisville Orchestra as an orchestral pianist and for many special events.

Concert Program:
Joel THOMPSON: To Awaken the Sleeper
A World Premiere piece commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
Leonard BERNSTEIN:  Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”

Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sebastian Chang, piano



Creating music to honor her family, Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth (winner of the 2022 Grawemeyer Award) was inspired by the multi-ethnic origins of her grandfather to create a musical river of sound. Her “Masaot” – Hebrew for “journey” — traces his life, and explores her own identity, through time and multiple homelands while maintaining a heart of faith.

Whether contemplating or cursing the Almighty, Leonard Bernstein’s lifelong battle with faith took a devastating blow with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His Kaddish Symphony is dedicated to the memory of JFK, his friend, and President. Even now, 60 years later, the work’s exploration of faith, the elusive concept of peace, and bringing forward Woman as the narrator who challenges God all speak as loudly today as ever. With no obvious religious component, Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony continues to be a prayer for mankind.

Concert Programs:
A World premiere piece commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
Olga NEUWIRTH:  Masaot/Clocks Without Hands
Leonard BERNSTEIN:  Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish”

Teddy Abrams, conductor
Louisville Chamber Choir
Children’s Chorus
TBD, soprano



Literature has ever laid its influence on composers.

The words of essayist, novelist, and civil rights activist James Baldwin are brought to life in the deeply moving demand for justice by the Emmy-award-winning composer Joel Thompson. Best known for his largest work to date, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, Thompson is finding new listeners around the world. Leonard Bernstein, influenced by poet W. H Auden’s work of the same title, explored existentialism in the modern world. Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 explores the seven ages of Man with the piano soloist as the protagonist.  In addition, one of the new Creator Corps members will be tasked with writing a new work inspired by literature to premiere at this concert.

Sebastian Chang‘s first major performance as a piano soloist was in his own composition Concertino for Piano and Orchestra with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at the age of 9. Sebastian obtained his B.M. in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music & an M.M. in Composition from the University of Southern California. Chang is a regular collaborator with the Louisville Orchestra as an orchestral pianist and for many special events.

Concert Program:
Joel THOMPSON: To Awaken The Sleeper (LO co-commission)
Leonard BERNSTEIN:  Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”

Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sebastian Chang, piano

Annual Tribute Concert of the Louisville Orchestra
Complimentary coffee is provided by Heine Bros.


During a 1932 trip to Mexico, Aaron Copland visited a popular dance hall in Mexico City called El Salón México. Fascinated by watching the locals and listening to the band, he sought out collections of Mexican folk music, adapting their tunes into a colorful orchestral score. Alive with the stomping rhythms and brilliant colors that inspired him, El Salón México has become a popular curtain-raiser.

Gabriela Lena Frank is a one-woman cultural melting pot who has frequently drawn on her part-Peruvian heritage for musical inspiration. Her Concerto Cusqueño combines a Peruvian melody with a fragment by Benjamin Britten. She has written: “Concertino Cusqueño melds together two brief musical ideas: The first few notes of a religious tune, ‘Ccollanan María,’ from Cusco (the original capital of the Inca empire with the simple timpani motif from the opening of Britten’s elegant Violin Concerto. I am able to spin an entire work from these two ideas, designating a prominent role to the four-string principal players (with a bow to the piccolo/bass clarinet duo and, yes, the timpanist).”

Danzón is a popular Cuban dance of 19th-century origin. For Danzón No.2, Arturo Márquez was inspired by friends who are professional ballroom dancers. Popular Mexican tunes and catchy rhythms course through this music, which is Márquez’s nostalgic salute to a genre still treasured by the older generation.

The Louisville Orchestra commissioned Mexico’s José Pablo Moncayo to write Cumbres in 1953. The title, which means “Summits,” suggests the views from a Mexican mountaintop: a panoramic vista of Mexican landscape and culture. Moncayo’s score captures the character and jagged pulse of Mexican folk music adapted to a traditional symphony orchestra. The effect is upbeat and electrifying.

George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture is a sassy foot-tapping score. He had vacationed in 1930s Havana with a group of high-rolling friends. Decades before Fidel Castro took over, the Cuban capital was a vibrant party city. Known as “the Paris of the Caribbean,” Havana was extremely popular with Americans during Prohibition. In this irresistible overture, Gershwin captured the glamour and excitement of Old Cuba.

Daniel Catán’s opera Florencia en el Amazonas has the distinction of being the first opera in Spanish commissioned by a major American company.  Featuring a libretto inspired by the revered Latin-American author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the work premiered in October 1996. Portraying the story of Florencia Grimaldi, a glamorous diva who travels the Amazon in search of a long-lost lover, the lush and romantic music and orchestration of the opera are key to the growing popularity of the work.

Festival of Latin American Music 1: Program Note

Brazil’s most celebrated composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, composed Alvorada na Floresta Tropical [Dawn in a Tropical Rainforest] in 1953 for the Louisville Orchestra. Though much of his formal musical education took place in Paris, Villa-Lobos always asserted that he had learned music “from a bird in the jungles of Brazil, not from academics.”  At the time of Alvorada’s premiere, he wrote: “A dawn, in any tropical forest of Brazil, is for me an overture of colors accompanied by the magic singing and chirping of the tropical birds, and also by howls, squeals, evocations and the exotic and barbaric dances of the native Indians. . . . The themes of this work are original and they are treated in the scales of certain Brazilian Indians.


Cuban-American Dafnis Prieto has a multi-faceted career as a drummer, composer, bandleader, and educator. This weekend we experience his latest work, Tentación, a multi-media piece for singer-dancers, percussion, several jazz instruments, piano, and orchestral strings. Prieto has written: “Tentación is a love story, or better said an imaginary love story driven by the powerful law of attraction. The seductive quality that makes us dream for a better and happy future inside and around ourselves, diving into a vast range of feelings and emotions. This story involves many sides of an imaginary ‘but at the same time’ real relationship, the sweet, the bitter, the similarities, the differences, the conversations, the advice, the challenges, the suggestions, the ups and downs. It involves real senses caused by the imaginary state of willing, of dreaming, and desire. The music reflects in sounds and lyrics two words – real and imaginary – i.e. the real,  provoked by the imaginary state.


Angélica Negrón has carved a unique niche for herself in new music. Classically trained as a violinist, she now performs as a singer and accordionist with Balún, an electro-acoustic pop band. Her latest work, Fractal Isles, is a Louisville Orchestra commission. It combines electronica and bird callers in addition to a full orchestra. Collectively, they create a vivid minimalist shimmer reflecting on themes of exoticism, invasion, and the construction of otherness. Her composer’s note states: “Fractal Isles is meant to be seen and heard in saturated colored pieces of glass, enclosed in a tube and through a prismatic lens that repeats its inflection, looking back at itself and inevitably getting lost from the outside in the fantasy of what’s inside.”


A 20th-century musical icon, Leonard Bernstein rocketed to international acclaim in November 1943 when, at the last minute, he took over the podium of the New York Philharmonic for an ailing Bruno Walter. Bernstein was already establishing a reputation as a noteworthy composer of both classical and popular stage works. His greatest stage success was West Side Story (1957), a modern interpretation of the Romeo and Juliet story set in the barrios of New York. Bernstein crafted his Symphonic Dances from West Side Story the same year, seamlessly navigating the musical’s instrumental segments. Latin rhythms connect this score to the dance, punctuated by an expanded percussion section. Both American and Puerto Rican, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances plant a New World persona on a European form. Sixty-five years after West Side Story opened, this music still thrills listeners.


People of Earth, a dynamic Latin timba ensemble based in New York City, appears with Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra in Whitney Hall on March 4 and 5, in a highlight of Part I of the orchestra’s two-concert Festival of Latin American Music. Part II continues March 11-12, in a festival that sweeps across the Caribbean and through the hemisphere on a tour of the music of the Americas.

Together, the two concerts premiere three new compositions commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra, and two commissioned and premiered by the Louisville Orchestra more than 50 years ago under the baton of symphony founder Robert Whitney.

Besides the new, there’s also the familiar, with the March 4-5 concerts featuring Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances,” from “West Side Story,” and the March 11-12 concerts capped with the “Cuban Overture,” by George Gershwin.

A lot of sounds, and it’s all got rhythm.

“We’re bringing together all kinds of perspectives on Latin Music, from traditional to jazz, fusion and concert music as we celebrate this culture,” says Abrams. “The rhythms and textures that bring energy and light to Latin Music will be on display at these shows — and I’m so excited to bring these performers and this music to Louisville audiences.”

The People of Earth is a band of singers, dancers, horns, and percussion infusing the many beats and dance rhythms of Cuba and the Caribbean — all perking with the symphony’s strings. Abrams says the blend, “blurs the lines of salsa club and concert hall.

“We had the extraordinary opportunity to commission a new work from Dafnis Prieto, a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” fellow, and multi-Grammy-winning Cuban composer and performer,” says Abrams. “He agreed to write a piece that redefines the concept of soloist,” with the People of Earth timba band taking center stage.

Prieto says his “Tentacion” (Temptation) explores the many sides of a relationship in “an imaginary love story driven by the powerful law of attraction.”

Abrams notes that the Festival’s new commissions re-affirm the Louisville Orchestra’s association with Latin Music. Many of the hundreds of works premiered and recorded by the symphony on its First Edition label a half-century ago were created by musicians of international fame, including Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazil’s most famous composer. His “Alvorada na Floresta Tropical” (Dawn in a Tropical Rainforest) premiered in Louisville in1953.

Though classically trained in Paris, Villa-Lobos always asserted he learned his music “from a bird in the jungles of Brazil, not from academics.” For the premiere, Villa-Lobos explained, “A dawn, in any tropical forest of Brazil, is for me an overture of colors accompanied by the magic singing and chirping of tropical birds — and also by the howls, squeals, evocations and the exotic barbaric dances of the native Indians.” Villa Lobos adapted the tonal scales of indigenous Brazilians into his composition. The piece is programmed for Saturday, Mar. 5 only.

Later in March, Abrams has programmed Joaquin Rodrigo’s guitar “Concierto de Aranjuez” into the Louisville Orchestra’s “Music Without Borders” series, Mar. 24, 25 and 26, at The Temple, The Jeffersonian, and the Ogle Center, respectively. Stephen Mattingly is the featured guitarist.


Festival of Latin American Music #1
Friday, March 4 at 11AM at Kentucky Center
Saturday, March 5 at 8PM at Kentucky Center

Festival of Latin American Music #2
Friday, March 11 at 11AM at Kentucky Center
Saturday, March 12 at 8PM at Kentucky Center

Concierto de Aranjuez
Thursday, March 24 at 7:30PM at The Temple
Friday, March 25 at 7:30PM at The Jeffersonian
Saturday, March 26 at 7:30PM at The Ogle Center at IUS

Donna Parkes wins Ford Musician Award

We are so proud of Donna Parkes who won one of 5 Ford Musician Awards from the League of American Orchestras.


The Louisville Orchestra’s principal trombonist Donna Parkes is one of just five orchestra musicians from across the U.S. who received Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras at the League’s 74th National Conference in Nashville, June 3-5, 2019. The awards celebrate professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement.

This year’s awardees work with children of all ages in a variety of initiatives, introducing young children to orchestral instruments through story, live music, and movement; teaching hearing and speech-impaired children new skills; providing music education and engagement to students from underserved communities; connecting with children and families in outlying communities through creative programming; and facilitating the creation of new compositions by high school students.

Donna Parkes at the Heuser Hearing Institute

“Donna is an amazing musician and leader,” states Louisville Orchestra CEO Robert Massey. “In addition to serving as Principal Trombone, she is a member of the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Committee, holds a seat on the Board of Directors, and has extensively been at the forefront of the Orchestra’s community programs. She has been instrumental in the Louisville Orchestra’s Heuser Hearing and Learning Academy Residency program for more than a decade. Introducing the wonder of sound and music to deaf and hearing-impaired children, Donna collaborates with the teachers and therapists at Heuser and coordinates the participation of her fellow LO musicians to bring this program to the Academy classrooms every month. We are pleased that Donna is being recognized by the League for her work in this program.”

“These musicians’ artistry and commitment drives compelling work that touches the lives of so many in their communities,” said Jesse Rosen, the League’s President and CEO. “Ford Motor Company Fund’s ongoing support has helped us share the inspiring stories of these trailblazing mentors and leaders with the entire orchestra field and beyond.”

“We’re proud to recognize these five musicians, whose contributions to their communities will create a lasting positive impact,” said Yisel Cabrera, Manager, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Music and the arts have the ability to transcend boundaries and bring people together, which is why the generous service these musicians are providing is so important.”

The musicians received their awards at the League of American Orchestras’ Conference Luncheon, June 4, and discussed their work at Musicians Transforming Communities, a session for Conference delegates on June 4.

About Donna Parkes

Australian trombonist Donna Parkes has been Principal Trombone of the Louisville Orchestra since 2008 and has been Principal Trombone of the Colorado Music Festival since 2009. She has played with the Utah Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, and the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. She has performed with many orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Oregon Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Parkes has performed at the Arizona Musicfest, the Marlboro Festival, and the Grand Tetons Festival and in 2016 toured with the Australian World Orchestra. Solo competition successes include winning the Australian National Trombone Competition, the Brisbane International Brass Competition, and finalist in the Jeju Brass Competition in Korea. She has appeared as a soloist or clinician at the International Women’s Brass Conference, International Trombone Festival and the Melbourne International Festival of Brass. Parkes received her Masters Degree studying under Charles Vernon at DePaul University and other primary teachers include Michael Mulcahy and Ron Prussing.

The five award recipients and their orchestras are:

Victoria Griswold, Violin
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Teddy Bear Series, introducing young children to orchestral instruments through story, live music, and movement

Jeff Handley, Principal Percussion
Chicago Sinfonietta
Audience Matters and SEED, in-school residency programs for students from underserved communities

Rebecca Patterson, Principal Cello
New Haven Symphony Orchestra
NHSO Harmony Fellowship Quartet / Recording Composition Class, for students from underrepresented communities

Donna Parkes, Principal Trombone
Louisville Orchestra
Teaching communication skills through music to children with hearing and speech impairments in a partnership with the Heuser Hearing Institute.

Rebecca Young, Associate Principal Viola
New York Philharmonic
Very Young People’s Concerts

About the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service:

Now in its fourth year, the League’s Ford Musician Awards program, made possible by the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund, honors and celebrates professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary and meaningful service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement.

The musicians were selected by a panel of peer professionals through a competitive nomination process to receive the awards, which include a $2,500 grant to each musician, as well as an additional $2,500 grant to the musician’s home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for musicians.

Previous Award Recipients:

2018 award recipients included Jeffrey Barker, associate principal flute, Seattle Symphony; John R. Beck, principal percussionist, Winston Salem Symphony; Jody Chaffee, Community Engagement Director, Flute, Firelands Symphony Orchestra; Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and Juan R. Ramírez Hernández, Violin, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Videos of the 2018 awardees can be found here.

2017 award recipients included Mark Dix, viola, Phoenix Symphony; Michael Gordon, principal flute, Kansas City Symphony; Diane McElfish Helle, violin, Grand Rapids Symphony; Eunsoon Lee-Coroliss, assistant principal violist, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; and Peter Zlotnick, education manager/principal timpani, Greensboro Symphony.
Videos of the 2017 awardees can be found here.

2016 award recipients included Penny Anderson Brill, viola, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Shannon Orme, bass clarinet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Brian Prechtl, percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Beth Vandervennet, cello, Oakland Symphony.

This is the League’s second partnership project with Ford Motor Company Fund, which was the title sponsor of Ford Made in America, the largest commissioning consortium in the country’s history.

Classics Series ALL 8

Classics Series at the Louisville Orchestra

Meet the Creators

Teddy Abrams & Louisville Orchestra Announce Inaugural Group of Composers for New “Creators Corps” Residency Program Beginning Sep 1

“If we’re relying on the younger generation to help boost interest in classical music, look no further than Teddy Abrams.” — NPR Music
“A genre-defying orchestra in Louisville? Believe it.” Time magazine

 (July 2022)—Long praised for visionary thinking about the role of an orchestra in its community, galvanizing Music Director Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra (LO) are pleased to announce the inaugural group of creators for their newest initiative, the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps, which transcends traditional commissioning and composer-in-residence paradigms with a radically new model for collaborating with symphony orchestras in the 21st century. The selected creators are Lisa Bielawa, TJ Cole, and Tyler Taylor. Abrams, who was named Conductor of the Year for 2022 by Musical America and begins his eighth season with the orchestra in September, explains:

“I was overwhelmed by the diverse talent of the 186 applicants for the initial year of the LO’s Creators Corps. I believe this reflects the widespread desire for artists to build deeper and more impactful relationships with civic institutions and the communities they represent. With an extraordinarily dedicated selection committee, we were able to find three exceptional creators to join us in Louisville for the 2022-23 Season. Lisa, TJ, and Tyler are examples of consummate 21st-century artist-leaders; their musical talents match their intellects and they all share a remarkable sensitivity to the needs of the world beyond the boundaries of contemporary musical composition. While each creator has a unique background and aesthetic perspective, their collective accomplishments and capabilities will make them a tremendous part of the LO family and the creative fabric of Louisville (and in Tyler’s case, as a Louisvillian, we are honored to offer him the Orchestra’s broad civic platform). This is an historic and immensely consequential moment for the LO, and I can’t wait to begin collaborating with these three outstanding creators.”

Graham Parker, the Louisville Orchestra’s Interim Executive Director, adds:

“The Creators Corps marks a new chapter for innovation and leadership for the Louisville Orchestra, and I am proud that we are demonstrating the most impactful way composers, community leaders, musicians, and civic partners can come together to fundamentally change the conversation around creativity, the creative process, access to and impact from the arts. The entire LO family is dedicated to delivering on this new model and showcasing it across Metro Louisville, the Commonwealth, and the country.”

The Creators Corps, an innovative first-of-its-kind program that puts artists in the community for deeper integration with the orchestra and the city of Louisville, selects three creators in the spring to move to Louisville for the upcoming season and live in the Shelby neighborhood for at least 30 weeks, serving as LO staff members with an annual salary of $40,000, health insurance, housing, and a custom-built studio workspace. Throughout their residencies, the creators will compose new works to be performed by the orchestra and/or in other settings, participate in educational and community engagement activities, and be active, engaged citizens of their neighborhood. The three selected creators will each have a preexisting work performed on the opening night program on September 17. The world premieres of their new works will be performed in Louisville during the 2022/23 season on Classics programs on January 14, March 4, and March 11 – the latter two dates as part of the Festival of American Music – and will appear as well on Music Without Borders programs.

The Creators Corps program has been funded by a three-year, $750,000 grant from The Mellon Foundation and from the generous support of additional individual donors locally and nationally.

About the Creators Corps Composers          

Lisa Bielawa

Composer, producer, and vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in musical composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, “Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock.” Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by the New York Times, and “fluid and arresting … at once dramatic and probing,” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a 2020 OPERA America Grant for Female Composers. She was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018 and was Artist-in-Residence at Kaufman Music Center in New York for the 2020-2021 season.

Bielawa has established herself as one of today’s leading composers and performers, one who consistently executes work that incorporates community-making as part of her artistic vision. She has created music for public spaces in Lower Manhattan, the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, on the sites of former airfields in Berlin and in San Francisco, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; she composed and produced a twelve-episode, made-for-TV opera that featured over 350 musicians and was filmed in locations across the country; she was a co-founder in 1997 of the MATA Festival, which continues to support young composers; and for five years she was the artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, bringing the chorus to the NY PHIL BIENNIAL and introducing the young performers to the music of today through numerous premieres and commissions from leading composers. From 2019-2022, Bielawa was the founding Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute (PGI) at The New School’s College of the Performing Arts.

In addition to performing as the vocalist in the Philip Glass Ensemble, Bielawa performs in many of her own works as well as in the music of John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Michael Gordon, and others. She will have her third residency as a performer/composer at Zorn’s venue The Stone in November 2022. She recently made her orchestral conducting debut leading the Mannes String Orchestra in a special presentation by the Philip Glass Institute, featuring her music, music by Jon Gibson and David T. Little, and Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3.

Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University and became an active participant in New York musical life.


TJ Cole

TJ Cole (they/she) is an American composer, originally from the suburbs of Atlanta. They have been commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Nashville in Harmony, Intersection, Time For Three, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Play On Philly, the Music in May Festival, Music in the Vineyards, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, One Book One Philadelphia, and the Bakken Trio, among others.

​Their music has been performed by various ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, Ensemble Connect, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the Dover Quartet, the Bakken Trio, and the Nebula Ensemble, among others. They have also worked on numerous projects with Time for Three as an orchestrator and arranger, and served as a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2014.

TJ has also been a singer-songwriter, producer, and engineer in the fully electronic synth-pop band Twin Pixie, which focuses on making music at the intersection of queerness, pop culture, and the supernatural.

TJ has participated in composition programs including the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, and the Next Festival of Emerging Artists, and studied with Samuel Adler for a summer at the Freie Universität Berlin. They have won two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer awards (2014 and 2020), including the Leo Kaplan Award in 2020 for their string sextet ‘Playtime’.

​TJ has also been involved with music-related community outreach projects. They collaborated with bassist Ranaan Meyer as an orchestrator on his project The World We All Deserve Through Music, and with First Person Arts by co-curating and performing in a musical story slam. During a yearlong ArtistYear Fellowship (2016-17), TJ was able to co-run and collaborate in musical performances and songwriting workshops with residents of Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based organization fighting to end chronic homelessness.

​TJ received their Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, and studied at Interlochen Arts Academy. Their mentors include John Boyle Jr., Jennifer Higdon, David Ludwig, and Richard Danielpour.

Tyler Taylor

Tyler Taylor, a Louisville native, is a composer-performer whose work explores the different ways identity can be expressed in musical scenarios. Common among these pieces is a sense of contradiction – sometimes whimsical, sometimes alarming – that comes from the interaction of diverse musical layers. This expression of contradiction likely comes from his being a person of mixed race; being raised on hip hop and R&B while inheriting a European tradition of Western art music as his primary form of musical expression in spite of having little or no other cultural ties to Europe; and pursuing a career in a field that generally lacks representation of his demographic.

Tyler has recently held fellowships at the National Orchestra Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. During these residencies, he had several works performed, including two premieres, and worked alongside Marin Alsop, Derek Bermel, Andreia Pinto Correia, and many other distinguished artists. His work has been recognized by awards including the BMI Student Composition Award (2019) and the Howard Hanson Ensemble Prize (2017, 2016), and has been featured during the College Orchestra Directors Association Convention (2022), the University of Louisville Annual New Music Festival (2018, 2017, 2016) and the Midwest Composers Symposium (2019). He has recently been commissioned by the Washington and Lee University Orchestra, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, the Albany Symphony Contemporary Ensemble, the Youth Performing Arts School, the Louisville Orchestra, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, and the Indiana Bandmasters Association.

In addition to his composition, Tyler is an avid performer of contemporary music, playing horn in many of his own works and those by his colleagues. He has honed his skill as a contemporary performer in groups such as the IU New Music Ensemble, Eastman’s Musica Nova, Ossia New Music, the University of Louisville New Music Ensemble, and more.

Tyler holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Doctor of Music in Composition, with minors in music theory and horn performance), the Eastman School of Music (Master of Music in Composition and Horn), and the University of Louisville (Bachelor of Music in Composition). His principal composition teachers include Tansy Davies, Aaron Travers, Don Freund, David Liptak, Robert Morris, Krzysztof Wołek, and Steve Rouse. His principal horn teachers include  Emily Britton, Dale Clevenger, Jeff Nelsen, W. Peter Kurau, Bruce Heim, Steve Causey, and Diana Morgen.


Creators Corps Works in 2022-23 Classics Season

Sep 17
“Swing, Swagger and Sway”
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Tessa Lark, violin
Wynton MARSALIS: Violin Concerto in D
Tyler TAYLOR: Facades
Lisa BIELAWA: Drama/Self-Pity
TJ COLE: Megalopolis
STRAVINSKY: Symphony in Three Movements

Jan 14
Fifths Of Beethoven
Teddy Abrams, conductor & piano
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5

March 4
Festival Of American Music: Journeys of Faith
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Louisville Chamber Choir
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
Olga NEUWIRTH: Masaot/Clocks Without Hands
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish”

March 11
Festival Of American Music: The Literary Influence
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sebastian Chang, piano
Joel THOMPSON: To Awaken the Sleeper
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”



Highlights include world premiere works by the new Creators Corps, Beethoven’s Fifth, and a performance by Broadway star KELLI O’HARA

(Louisville KY… Apr 19, 2022)  Now in its ninth season under the dynamic and inspiring leadership of Music Director Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra is proud to announce a season of creativity in 2022-23.  Highlights of the season include new works by composers from the newly launched Creators Corps, the eighth annual Festival of American Music featuring works by the American cultural hero Leonard Bernstein, premieres and commissioned works by important voices of today’s composers including the 2021 Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Olga Neuwirth, acclaimed composers Joel Thompson, Thomas Adés, Mason Bates and Christopher Cerrone. Teddy Abrams performs as pianist and conductor for Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto in a program where he also conducts Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, plus performances by Avery Fisher Career Grant winner TESSA LARK and a long-awaited return to the stage of the momentous Symphony No. 7 by Anton Bruckner will engage the classical music lovers of Louisville. Headlining the Pops Series is Grammy Award-winning Broadway and Hollywood star KELLI O’HARA. Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt has lined up a season packed with entertainment including vintage films with some of the finest music scores are on display; the exceptional voice of CAPATHIA JENKINS in “Aretha: A Tribute,” and the Emmy-Award winning vocal group THE TEXAS TENORS who have amassed a huge fan base worldwide.

5 Different Concert Series

Each year the Louisville Orchestra plays a wide array of public, education, and outreach performances. With more than 100 performances annually by the orchestra or its ensembles, the LO is central to life in Louisville. We announce programs and dates for five different concert series for the 2022-23 Season that are currently available for sale with discounted multi-concert subscription packages available to the public. Complete programming and descriptions of individual concerts are available at

CLASSICS SERIESA 9-concert series created by Music Director Teddy Abrams, the Classics Series presents an inspiring slate of exceptional music featuring the annual FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN MUSIC, a concert with Teddy at the piano performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto plus conducting Beethoven’s Fifth, and the massive grand finale of the Symphony No. 7 by Anton Bruckner – a piece that’s been missing from our programs for over 20 years. The newly launched Creators Corps will have new works premiered at concerts starting in January 2023. The Creators Corps is a unique residency program that brings three composers to live and work in Louisville as a way to enhance our thriving creative community with music that is made in our city for our citizens. Acclaimed guest performers on the Classics Series include violinist TESSA LARK, LO’s own principal horn JON GUSTELY, piano virtuosos TIMO ANDRES and SEBASTIAN CHANG, rising star violinist ALEXI KENNEY, and baritone DASHON BURTON. 9-concert packages from $207. 5-concert packages from $130. That’s $26 per concert!

POPS SERIES – Six concert series under the direction of Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt. Opening with a performance by KELLI O’HARA, and featuring a tribute concert to Aretha Franklin, our traditional Holiday Pops, a look back at the music of the 80s, and closing with the massively entertaining TEXAS TENORS. 6-concert packages from $156.

COFFEE SERIES – Six-concert matinee series offering a sampling of the music from the Classics Series. Concerts are presented on Fridays at 11AM at the Kentucky Center. 6-concert packages from $108.

FAMILY SERIES — Three-concert series presented at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall (NEW location). Programs are centered on storytelling and music to entertain and educate children ages 4 to 12 years. Affordable and fun! 3-concerts for $42 (adult) and $27 (child)

NIGHTLITES at the Ogle – Four-concert series presented at the Ogle Center at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. Popular classical music prices at $90 for all 4 events.