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CLASSICS: FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN MUSIC 2 – JOURNEYS OF FAITH

Saturday, March 11, 2023 7:30pm

Event Description

Our Festival this year carries the title “Journeys of Faith”. Through a series of panel discussions pairing Jewish and Black pastors and clergy, our Festival sponsors and partners will seek to connect those Louisvillian communities through discussions of faith and life experience. Their goal is to enable a better understanding of one another and achieve connection through a renewed foundation of relationship. Musically the LO will explore the music of Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein and an important work by Joel Thompson based on the words of African-American writer James Baldwin. American music will welcome two brand new compositions to its ranks from our Creators Corps members, TJ Cole and Tyler Taylor.

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. Creator Corps member Tyler Taylor premieres his commission for the LO, Revisions 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.

Louisville Orchestra’s Creators Corps Member Tyler Taylor will have the world premiere of his commissioned work for the LO this weekend, entitled Revisions. Taylor’s most recent pieces are explorations of 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
line of expression comes from his experiences as a person of mixed race; being raised on hip hop
and R&B while inheriting a European tradition of “classical 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. Born into a family of
non-musicians and without traditional context for his positioning in the world of classical music,
Tyler proudly embraces an identity as an infiltrator and a timely contradiction of the status quo.
Tyler was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1992. He holds degrees from the Indiana University
Jacobs School of Music (DM Composition with minors in music theory and horn performance),
the Eastman School of Music (MM Composition), and the University of Louisville (BM
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 Dale Clevenger, Jeff Nelsen, W. Peter Kurau, and Bruce Heim.

Revisions draws its inspiration from the historical relationship – or lack thereof – between the saxophone and the orchestra, which historically has been viewed as not a suitable orchestral instrument perhaps partly because of its association in the early part of the 20th century with Jazz and black expressions of music, and therefore associated with a race of people who were viewed as inferior by a majority in the classical scene. In the case of Revisions, the saxophone’s history comes charged with immense dramatic and symbolic potential. The presence of the saxophone quartet, seated alongside the string section principals, creates a dramatic tension within the orchestra as part of a scenario that explores power dynamics, unity, division, companionship, and finding a sense of place.

Concert Program:
Joel THOMPSON: To Awaken the Sleeper
Tyler TAYLOR:  Revisions (World Premiere of an LO Creators Corps commission)
Leonard BERNSTEIN:  Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”

Teddy Abrams, conductor
Jecorey Arthur, narrator
Sebastian Chang, piano


BROWN-FORMAN FOUNDATION CLASSICS SERIES
FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN MUSIC SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH HERITAGE FUND FOR EXCELLENCE

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Event Venue

Whitney Hall at the Kentucky Performing Arts Center
501 W Main St
Louisville, 40202 United States

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