On the same night that the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra presented its third commissioned work in the Scott Terrell era, it unveiled a schedule for next season that expands its performances and presentations of contemporary works.
The lineup includes performances of major works by marquee contemporary composers including Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov and Tan Dun, and several performances that will be presented on more than one night. With a few exceptions, most Philharmonic productions over more than a decade have been one night only, on Friday nights.
"This shift allows LexPhil to respond to a longstanding request from audience members to provide concerts on Saturday evenings," Philharmonic executive director Allison Kaiser said in a news release.
The two-night stands will take place at the Lexington Opera House, marking another shift for the orchestra, which last had a regular presence at the Opera House when it presented a pops series under the baton of longtime director George Zack.
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"The growing energy of Lexington's downtown also attracts us to be part of its vibrant nightlife, and offer diverse amenities to patrons who plan their evenings with us," Kaiser said.
One of those Opera House performances will be a cabaret-style New Year's Eve concert.
The other two Opera House stands will be for the works by Glass, his multimedia Icarus at the Edge of Time; and for Golijov's concert opera Ainadamar in conjunction with Louisville's Kentucky Opera and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. Terrell said both performances will benefit from the Opera House's structure and capabilities.
Contemporary work has been a major emphasis of Terrell's tenure as music director, which started in 2009.
"It's a matter of getting people comfortable with the idea that we're a living entity, presenting living works," Terrell said in an interview earlier this week. "There are a lot of creative composers out there that deserve a hearing, and we're much more comfortable as an entity presenting them than we were five years ago.
"It's more difficult to play. There's less of a bed of knowledge for the orchestra. They have to build their skill set to tackle pieces that ask more of them. That makes for a better orchestra."
Terrell said he was particularly pleased that Lexington audiences have been open to contemporary programming.
But the coming season also offers some big-name classics, including Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in November with a mass choir composed of area collegiate ensembles, and a season finale of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique next May.
Guest artists will include a return visit from pianist Inon Barnatan for the Saturday night season opener playing Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and Alexandre da Costa performing Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in May.