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


Job Title:         Executive Assistant
Reports to:      Chief of Staff
FLSA:               Full-time, Exempt


The Louisville Orchestra has long had a strong reputation for innovation, creativity, and excellence. With an annual operating budget of $10M, 58 full-time musicians, and a 34-week performance season, it is currently an organization that is changing the very idea of what a 21st century orchestra can be and do. Under the leadership of Music Director Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra is well on its way toward achieving its goal of being “the most interesting orchestra on the planet.”

Job Summary:   Reporting to the Chief of Staff, the Executive Assistant works closely and effectively with the Chief of Staff to provide critical support for the Louisville Orchestra and Chief Executive.  The Executive Assistant actively manages calendars, correspondence, and information on the Chief Executive’s behalf.  Additionally, the Executive Assistant serves as a key point of contact to the board of directors, donors, staff and others. 

The Ideal Candidate: The Executive Assistant must be creative and energetic, and enjoy working for a fast-paced arts organization. They will need to exercise keen judgment in a variety of situations with strong communication, administrative and organizational skills. They will have the ability and flexibility to continually prioritize among competing demands. The Executive Assistant will manage a wide variety of projects independently, professionally, and with discretion. The ability to manage confidential information is essential.

Main Areas of Ownership 

  • Executive Support
  • Board Support and Liaison
  • Development Support

Duties and Responsibilities:

Executive Support

  • Completes a broad variety of administrative tasks for the Chief Executive including managing an active schedule of appointments, organizing and prioritizing information, and compiling data and documents for meetings.
  • Act as primary contact for the Chief Executive in external scheduling and communication, and act as an effective internal conduit for scheduling and communication.
  • Serves in a visible role, helping to establish and build relationships crucial to the success of the organization, and manages a variety of special projects.
  • Reviews and drafts correspondence, and maintains database information on behalf of the Chief Executive.
  • Accurately tracks and reports business expenses incurred by the Chief Executive, as well as makes all travel arrangements.
  • Additional duties as assigned by the Chief Executive.

Board Support and Liaison

  • Prepares agendas and materials in advance of board and committee meetings, and drafts meeting minutes following each meeting.
  • Maintains discretion and confidentiality in all communications with board members.
  • Organizes and executes logistics for Board meetings, including meeting invitations and responses, venue reservations, and setup.

Development Support

  • Follows up on contacts made by the Chief Executive and works closely with Development Staff to support the cultivation and stewardship of donor relationships.
  • Drafts and edits correspondence from the Chief Executive to donors.
  • Manages events personally hosted by the Chief Executive.
  • Provides additional support to the Development office, as time permits.

Other duties as assigned by the Chief Executive

Bachelor’s Degree in arts administration, fine arts performance, business, or related field required

Experience and Skillset:

  • 1-3 years of related experience
  • Comfort and disposition to serve in a visible and critical role for the organization.
  • Discretion and ability to handle complex and confidential matters
  • Critical and forward-looking thinker, who can devise and propose solutions.
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to perform multiple tasks efficiently and with attention to detail.
  • Emotional intelligence and a sense of humor are a must.
  • Resourceful team player, with the ability to be independently effective.
  • Availability to work nights and weekends as necessary.

To Apply:
Please send a cover letter including salary requirements along with your resume to:

Nathaniel Koch, Chief of Staff

 Please, no phone calls.

Coffee Concerts for Schools

Baird Coffee Concert Series performances are matinee public concerts open to Middle and High School students who are ready for the full-orchestra concert experience. Each performance is preceded by a “Concert Talk” that offers students the chance to learn about the concert program, including history, composers, and musical genres. This is an in-person experience only.

Questions? Contact Jenny Baughman, LO Education & Community Engagement Coordinator

502.587.8681 or

Upcoming Concerts

There are no upcoming events.

Concert Talks: Begin prior to the performance at 10am

Location/Address: Whitney Hall at The Kentucky Center, 501 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202 (map)
Audience: Middle and High School students
Teacher/Student Materials: Concert-specific program guide provided
Cost: $12 per student, 1 free chaperone admitted per every 10 paid students (additional chaperones $12 each)


IMPORTANT: Please review mandatory health/safety protocols and FAQs and on the LO site: Please note – Individuals who cannot show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test will not be admitted to the concert venue.


Free concerts for children

The Louisville Orchestra and the Louisville Free Public Library are pleased to announce a new, free concert series for young children and their families. ONCE UPON AN ORCHESTRA is presented with the support of the Library Foundation, Friends of the Library, the Brown-Forman Foundation, and Heaven Hill.

Once Upon an Orchestra sets storytelling to music with Louisville Orchestra musicians playing in small groups throughout the 17 branches of the Louisville Free Public Library. Each 30-minute interactive concert offers a fun musical story program such as “Musical Friends Around the World,” “Peter and the Wolf,” “A Trip to the Musical Zoo,” and more, plus a 30-minute activity. Children will learn to build a musical instrument from recycled materials to take home.

Leading the program is Louisville Orchestra Director of Education and Community Sarah Lempke O’Hare. She has specific goals for these concerts and explains, “With Once Upon An Orchestra, we are building on our established “MakingMUSIC” program. By bringing free small ensemble musical performances to family audiences in LFPL branches across the Louisville Metro, the orchestra will reach more children with music. We want to make strides to create more equitable access to quality performing arts opportunities.”

To view a complete list of the dates, locations, and programs, CLICK HERE.


Teddy Abrams : Musical America Conductor of the Year 2022

Teddy Abrams Named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year 2022

Download b-roll here

(Tuesday, October 12, 2021) Musical America announced today that Teddy Abrams—the galvanizing conductor now in his eighth season as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra—has been named Conductor of the Year for 2022. Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher congratulated Abrams publicly at a news conference soon after the announcement was made. From his earliest days in Louisville, the conductor has been lauded for his efforts to connect the orchestra with the community at large, exemplified most recently by his musical responses to the global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, as well as creative initiatives like his rap-opera The Greatest, honoring heavyweight champion and Louisville native Muhammad Ali and featuring local rapper Jecorey Arthur, now newly elected as one of Louisville’s Metro Councilmen. Abrams also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. As a recipient of this prestigious award, he joins a long list of conducting luminaries that includes Marin Alsop, Jaap van Zweden, Gianandrea Noseda, Pablo Heras-Casado, Franz Welser-Möst, and Abrams’s own mentor, Michael Tilson Thomas. The conductor’s videotaped response upon receiving news of the award can be seen here.

Lee Kirkwood, Chairman of the Louisville Orchestra Board of Directors, applauded Musical America’s decision:

“Congratulations to Teddy Abrams for this once-in-a-lifetime honor. Teddy’s many talents and his dedication to raising up the creative community of Louisville has become an inspiration to many, both here and across the country. We are so proud of him and will continue to show it by supporting his vision.”

Abrams responded:

“I’m incredibly grateful and overwhelmed to receive this award from Musical America; the honor, however, should be shared by my extraordinary colleagues here in Louisville, both on- and offstage, who have become family to me these past seven seasons. We have worked tirelessly together to live by our values: to interconnect the unending pursuit of the creative spirit with the call to service and communion on behalf of our city. I am very proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far in Louisville, and I believe that we are beginning an era of further transformation and growth in a city that deserves it and in an industry that needs bold redefinition. After a particularly challenging period in Louisville’s history, I am thrilled that Musical America has offered this recognition for our orchestra and this spotlight for our beautiful city and state.”

Early in the pandemic, Abrams redoubled his efforts to bring comfort through music to people across the city. He and the orchestra participated in “Lift Up Lou,” collaborating with Mayor Fisher to offer Louisville residents “uplifting and engaging” live and shareable content as well as ideas to stay connected, all made available on social media. As part of the same initiative, Abrams brought together numerous Louisville-based musicians to record the collaborative song “Lift Up Louisville,” with proceeds benefiting the One Louisville COVID-19 Response Fund. Lift Up Lou’s “Music on the Move” program also took music directly to Louisville residents, first by having the multi-faceted conductor and musician play a series of one-man pop-up shows on his electronic keyboard in neighborhoods around the city, as reported in the local Courier-Journal. Meanwhile, Abrams offered personal ten-minute online “comfort concerts” throughout the pandemic, and co-hosted the radio show “In This Together” on WUOL Classical Louisville. The Louisville Orchestra, for its part, replaced its previously announced fall offerings with four online concerts in the “Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition (LOVE)”—streaming live and then available for on-demand viewing—from Louisville’s newest venue, Old Forester’s Paristown Hall. Abrams’s indefatigable community engagement, not only during the pandemic but throughout his tenure, has received significant attention from national media, including a feature in Vogue that detailed the orchestra’s virtual season-opening concert honoring Breonna Taylor, and profiles on PBS’s Articulate show, the PBS Newshour and NPR.

Link to the complete media release HERE.

How safe? Here are some details.

Dear Friends.

We are excited to welcome you back to live, in-person concerts! The health and safety of our community is an important consideration as we gather for performances. To operate with utmost concern and awareness of the current recommendations of health officials, the LO strives to react appropriately as the pandemic continues.

We have implemented these protocols for admission to LO concerts at all indoor venues:

  1. Masking is mandatory at all times unless actively eating or drinking for all persons over age 2 years. This applies to outdoor venues also.
  2. Proof of negative PCR test or full vaccination status must be presented and verifiable for all persons over age 5 years.
  3. Testing will be provided at all venues by Bluewater Labs. 100% covered by your insurance or by the CARES Act (through Dec 31, 2021). 15-minute nasal swab testing is used.


The Kentucky Center has enhanced its HVAC filtration systems with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 filters that meet standards set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The air in the facility exchanges 100% no fewer than 4x per hour. In addition, the KPA is actively working to receive a GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a Division of ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. Once obtained, this cleaning standards certification will place all KPA venues on the international registry of GBAC accredited venues.

– High traffic areas will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected several times during your visit with agents that kill the COVID-19 virus.
– Theaters, concert halls, and reception spaces will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected before each use.
– Restrooms will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected often throughout your visit.


In addition to health screening, a security screening will be in place at all Kentucky Performing Arts venues (Kentucky Center, The Brown Theatre, Old Forester’s Paristown Hall). The security screening will include bag checks, and magnetic wand or magnetometer tests. Prohibited items are all guns, knives in most categories, mace or pepper spray, and other items detailed on the LO website. Other LO performance locations may institute security screenings. Please check with the LO Patron Services team if you have questions.

The Kentucky Performing Arts has issued a restriction on backpacks and oversize bags, including drawstrings.

Details for Kentucky Performing Arts venues are available here:

A full outline of LO protocol is available at

Upon reviewing these policies, if you would like to discuss your ticket options, please contact the LO during business hours at 502.587.8681.

Everyone at the LO is busy preparing for an amazing series of concerts as together we rise to the challenges of our times. We look forward to seeing you at a performance very soon.

A Year in Review

Greetings! Throughout this past year, Teddy Abrams and your Louisville Orchestra shared outstanding performances to bring our community together. You are such a large part of our story and success, and we wish to thank you again for your support.

It’s been an extraordinary year.
January 2021 brought a new schedule of online concerts with the Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition (LOVE). Our first attempt to create an online education concert in the MakingMUSIC program reached 49,500+ local students and educators in March. Special gifts and grants allowed us to present a series of free, outdoor concerts throughout Louisville last May and July. And ultimately, we returned to live performances with the free September kick-off concert at Iroquois Amphitheatre. Indoor and in-person concerts were restarted with the Classics, Pops, Family, and Music Without Borders concerts offering a variety of exciting programs. Launching a partnership with the Louisville Free Public Library in November was an instant success, bringing families with young children to musical storytelling events at library branches across the metro. To be sure, we were all working to maintain the most health-conscious environment for both the performers and audience as we continue to balance live performance with health concerns as the pandemic rages on.

Though it all, Teddy Abrams was true to the foundational values of the Louisville Orchestra — innovation, inspiration, and celebration of the joys and sorrows we face as individuals and as a community — as he commissioned new works, explored forgotten gems, lifted up living composers, and championed local talent at dozens of LO concerts. For this consistent dedication, imagination, and passion for the people of his city, he was awarded 2022 Conductor of the Year by MusicalAmerica – the journal of American classical music for more than 100 years. Other than the Kennedy Center Honors, this is the most prestigious recognition offered by the classical music industry. It is truly an achievement for Teddy.

Another amazing achievement is the 40-year career of our beloved Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt. He has given us some of our most engaging and entertaining moments with concerts in Louisville since 1981. He really is as nice and charming a person as he appears from the podium and we have all had the benefit of his kindness. But here’s a little secret that we know from working with Bob. He’s not only a dedicated professional, he could even be called a perfectionist. There’s nothing that escapes Bob’s notice from all aspects of his performances to the way the concert program listings are presented. We celebrate Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt’s 40th season.

You helped make all of this possible. Thank you!

As 2021 ends, we ask that you will continue to support the LO by making a charitable gift before December 31. We hope that the end of the year is a wonderful one for you and your loved ones, and we are so excited to see what the new year holds for all of us. Thank you, again, for your generous and sustained support.


Photos From Our Recent Concerts

We wanted to share a gallery of images from our most recent concerts. There’s been such joy in presenting live and in-person performances! We thank our patrons and donors for making these free events possible.

Education On Our Minds

The Louisville Orchestra was excited when Strings Magazine reached out to Teddy Abrams asking him to share more about the Louisville Orchestra vision for its education and community outreach programs. The Louisville Orchestra was founded on bringing high-quality musical experiences to the city. Throughout the orchestra’s history, dedicated efforts to expand the access and impact of the education and community outreach programs have including robust school and teacher experiences, musician engagement, and high quality and engaging educational musical performances. We share some of our strategic projects and vision for the future with the full text of Teddy’s essay for Strings Magazine.

Education is a core part of the Louisville Orchestra’s mission, and it is central to our concept of a modern orchestra as a public service institution as well as a concertizing organization. Over the past seven years, we have worked hard to develop educational programs and projects that speak to the creative potential of young people, engaging their talents and imaginations and showcasing the connectivity of diverse musical styles. We’ve deliberately avoided reifying stereotypes of “classical” music by instituting our vision for a New American Canon as the basis for our education and engagement work; this vision calls for the LO to reflect and affirm the vibrancy of our community. It equalizes great music regardless of its origin or history, it emphasizes music by living composers and American artists, and it provides for a fundamentally participatory audience experience rather than a purely didactic one.

This last year has clarified the necessity of music in Louisville’s future: the isolation brought by COVID-19 quarantines and the societal fracturing due to racial injustice (felt acutely in Louisville because of Breonna Taylor’s killing) has accentuated the power of music in healing and unifying our city. We have a momentous opportunity to use music to address these challenges directly with our community’s youth.

Our educational platform is built around several programs: our signature MakingMUSIC  program includes school visits and series of concerts serving 91 elementary schools annually, an instrument-building project called the “Landfill Orchestra,” (which teaches recycling and ecology along with science and crafts), the Louisville Orchestra Rap School, and the Louisville Orchestra Conducting School (a conducting training program for 4th- and 5th-graders), a weekly musician residency with the renowned Heuser Hearing Institute, and regular masterclasses at regional high school music programs. Almost all of those programs continued during the pandemic, with adaptations like asynchronous masterclasses for individual students, virtual conducting classes, and an online library of content we developed based on specific requests by music teachers at our public schools.

In the future, we will be expanding our unique Rap School as a part of our equity and unity efforts. This program is a collaboration with local rapper, classical percussionist, professor, and recently-elected Metro Councilman Jecorey “1200” Arthur. Students in our Rap School create lyrics inspired by the life of Louisville’s own Muhammad Ali, and they perform their raps with the full Louisville Orchestra each season. By investing in this project we tie together many of our educational goals: participation, musical equity, and a connection to locality. We’re so honored by the students who have participated and proud to have been a part of their creative growth. Initiatives to offer music activities to pre-school and kindergarten children are underway as we develop partnerships and programs.

Finally, as part of our initiatives to expand access to orchestral music in Kentucky, we are developing educational programs that will reach areas in the state where relationships with Louisville are minimal or even negative. By building educational programs with communities beyond Louisville metro, we hope to foster a much more connected, positive statewide spirit. Music is a part of Kentucky’s heritage and a source of pride for Kentuckians of all backgrounds and demographics, and by celebrating our state’s musical output in our educational programming  — from the first-rate hip hop scene in Louisville to the folk traditions of Appalachia — we can offer pathways to understanding and communality that are deeply needed in 21st century America. The groundwork for this statewide educational programming was laid during the pandemic, and we hope to initiate these concepts over the coming two seasons.

-Teddy Abrams




Live Concerts in a Season of “New Beginnings”

Introducing the 2021-22 Season of “NEW BEGINNINGS”

Teddy Abrams and Louisville Orchestra Focus on “New Beginnings” in 2021-22, Celebrating Composers of Color, Women Composers, Latin American Music, and Numerous World Premieres, Including Abrams’s New Piano Concerto Performed by Yuja Wang

Now in its eighth season under the inspired and inspiring leadership of galvanizing young Music Director Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra celebrates diverse musical voices in 2021-22, with works by composers of color and women composers of three centuries; a three-part festival of Latin American music featuring world premieres by Angélica Negrón and Dafnis Prieto; and the first concert in a multi-season series exploring Black and Jewish music. A major highlight of the season is the worldpremiere of Abrams’s Piano Concerto, written for and featuring acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang. The season also features the world premiere of a Louisville Orchestra commission from rising young Louisville composer KiMani Bridges, a new edition of the popular “Teddy Talks…” series deconstructing Schubert’s “Great” Symphony No. 9, world-class guest conductors and soloists, and much more. Bob Bernhardt, Principal Pops Conductor, celebrates his 40th season with the Louisville Orchestra this year. He launches the 5-concert Pops Series with “Music of Prohibition” and celebrates his anniversary with a concert of music by John Williams. Attendance at all performances in the 2021-22 season is subject to currently recommended COVID-19 safety protocols.

Season tickets are now on sale for the Classics, Pops, Family, and Coffee Concert Series.




All dates, programs, and artists are subject to change