These days, the Lexington Philharmonic likes to title its concerts, and Friday’s is appropriately titled “Beethoven & Brahms,” as it prominently features works by Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms.
It could also be appropriately titled “One Degree,” as the program is illustrative of how much separation music director Scott Terrell believes there is between musicians in the United States.
“That’s the fun part of musical life,” Terrell says. “There’s usually only one degree of separation.”
Between school, guest performances, festivals and other events, Terrell surmises that every musician is just one relationship away from every other musician. As evidence, violin soloist Marc Rovetti and cellist Yumi Kendall are musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra, which Terrell has worked for as a cover conductor for five years. Even before that, Terrell knew Kendall’s brother, Nick Kendall, a violinist in the trio Time for Three, which has performed with the Philharmonic. And he knew Rovetti from previous work together.
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Then, when Terrell got ready to find a bagpiper for another piece, Peter Maxwell Davies’ “An Orkney Wedding At Sunrise,” he found that Philharmonic principal trombonist Andrew Duncan knew Andrew Carlisle, who heads the bagpipe program at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University — yes, Carnegie Mellon has a piping program, one of only two in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in piping and the only school in the country offering a master’s in the instrument.
Carlisle will perform on the concert overture in full piping regalia, processing in from a location the audience will discover Friday night.
They all are coming to play in a concert that, on the surface, may seem like a bit of throwback for an orchestra that has become a proud purveyor of contemporary music under Terrell’s watch. Brahms and Beethoven are patron saints of the orchestral warhorse, but Terrell points out the pieces on Friday’s program are not usual fare.
The Philharmonic will play Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1,” which Terrell describes as “young and vibrant ... lighthearted and humorous,” words that don’t leap to mind discussing his later works. There is actually some Lexington history to the Beethoven first symphony as, according to research provided by the Philharmonic, the work had its second performance in the United States at Postlethwaite Tavern in 1817. The tavern was at Main and Limestone, where the central branch of the Lexington Public Library now stands, and the performance was by a small orchestra conducted by Austrian Anthony Philip Heinrich.
The Brahms “Concerto for Violin and Cello” demands virtuoso playing from both soloists, which Terrell says can be hard to come by in pairs. But with two high-ranking players in Kendall and Rovetti from one of the nation’s best orchestras, Terrell says Friday’s performance should be first rate. And he says bringing in players like Kendall and Rovetti, who are working at the top of the orchestral field, is important to the growth of the Philharmonic.
“I think it’s important that those relationships that are cultivated in the broader musical world are brought to the advantage of the Philharmonic,” Terrell says. “I really want to find chances where they’re not just great orchestral players, but they have insight into the psyche of a great orchestra. They share a lot of that when they’re here.”
If you go
“Beethoven & Brahms”
What: Maestro Scott Terrell and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra perform Peter Maxwell Davies’ “An Orkney Wedding At Sunrise” with bagpipe soloist Andrew Carlisle, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1” and Johannes Brahms’ “Concerto for Violin and Cello” with violin soloist Marc Rovetti and cello soloist Yumi Kendall.
When: 7:30 p.m. April 14
Where: Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose St.
Tickets: $25-$75, $11 students