The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra loves to tackle the big works, and it will again with Friday night’s performance of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1 ‘Titan.’”
“For our students, doing a work like Mahler is incredibly rewarding, because it’s got everything in it,” conductor John Nardolillo says.
“It’s got all the elements of life. What does it mean to love and to die and to be a human being? It encompasses the whole life experience; it’s got extreme happiness and sadness and heartbreak. Our students understand that; they relate to it. When you’re young and you’re experiencing overwhelming emotion of being alive, then this music speaks to you.”
That, it would seem, would be enough for one concert. But Friday’s performance is a full evening focused on students, especially two juniors who will take center stage.
Clarinetist Michael Robinson won the symphony’s annual concerto competition with Carl Nielsen’s “Clarinet Concerto” and will perform the work in concert. Bassoonist Logan Blackman will have a truly rare experience for a UK undergraduate: conducting his own work, “Prayer of a Broken Heart,” a memorial to his parents who died in an accident when he was 15.
“I love this concert,” Nardolillo says. “It’s a concert where we’re really celebrating the accomplishments of the students, which is what we’re here for.”
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If you go
UK Symphony Orchestra
What: John Nardolillo conducts the orchestra in “Symphony No. 1, ‘Titan’ ” by Gustav Mahler, “Clarinet Concerto” by Carl Nielsen, with soloist Michael Robinson, and Logan Blackman conducts his “Prayer of a Broken Heart.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Singletary Center for the Arts concert hall, 405 Rose St.
Tickets: $9 adults, $4 students