The Lexington Philharmonic’s season premiere concert is always a red letter day on the local arts calendar, and it happens again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Here are five things to help you get ready for the show:
1. It’s SATURDAY night: The Phil usually performs on Friday nights, but this year, the orchestra is presenting some of its special event concerts, including November’s world premiere with Chris Brubeck and May’s season finale, on Saturdays. Upside: A little more time to get all dolled up. Downside: It does go up against UK football’s SEC opener vs. South Carolina (discretely check the score between pieces). Bottom line: Don’t show up at Singletary on Friday.
2. That is “Bright Blue Music,” they are playing ... not Big Blue. The concert will open with with Michael Torke’s 1985 shot of adrenaline originally composed for the New York Youth Symphony and premiered at Carnegie Hall, according to Dan Chetel’s program notes. Of the work, Chetel writes, “In a world that often debates the ‘seriousness’ of art in order to assign value, Torke’s musical vision seems to transcend that question and reach directly into what excites us.” You can give the overture a listen right here:
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3. Joyce Yang is back: She first hit Lexington in 2009, Scott Terrell’s debut season as music director of the Lexington Philharmonic, playing Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.” At the time, the Van Cliburn competition silver medalist told us, “Small cities are my favorite places to play. In big cities, like New York, the expectations are always so huge, and I always get compared to something they heard last week. They come in with sharp ears, and they want to be gratified once more by someone really spectacular. The thing that’s missing is, ‘We’re really grateful that you’re here.’”
She returns with an Avery Fisher Career Grant added to her resume and performs Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor.” But look what we’re going to do here, with this video; we’re going to put Yang and Torke together. Suffice to say, we’ll be grateful to have music from both of them here:
4. Yep, this is Terrell’s ninth season. When Terrell’s predecessor, George Zack, announced his retirement in 2007, it was hard to imagine anyone else on the Philharmonic’s podium. But Terrell is embarking on his ninth year at the helm Saturday, having lead the orchestra to growing acclaim and increasingly innovative programming.
5. And there are three local choirs on the program: The combined choruses of Asbury University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Lafayette High School will appear for the concert-closing performance of Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloé.” Our friend Dan observes in his program notes, “The shimmering light of the strings and bubbling, rushing water of the woodwinds is joined by a wordless choir that only adds to the splendor of the musical scenery of these final movements from the original ballet.”
It all sounds like a big deal, as a season premiere should be. Click here to buy tickets ($25-$75) to the show.
Rich Copley: @copiousnotes