This Saturday (Nov 7), the Louisville Orchestra and Music Director Teddy Abrams present “America Sings: Copland’s Appalachian Spring,” a salute to the American folk-music tradition, in collaboration with Kentucky newgrass legend Sam Bush. Streaming live from Louisville’s newest venue, Paristown Hall, the performance marks the third installment of LOVE (the “Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition”), and will be available for streaming on demand until December 13.
As an originator of the progressive style known as newgrass, it was mandolinist, guitarist, fiddler and banjo player Sam Bush who brought bluegrass “kicking and screaming into the modern world” (Decider). Born and raised on a Kentucky cattle farm, Bush has been recognized with three Grammys, 16 Grammy nominations, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. He is the subject of the award-winning 2015 documentary Revival: The Sam Bush Story (now streaming on Amazon Prime), and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Before Abrams and the orchestra perform Copland’s Appalachian Spring at this Saturday’s concert, Bush looks forward to joining them for a selection of bluegrass song arrangements. Also featuring the Sam Bush Band’s Stephen Mougin on vocals and guitar, these will include the mandolinist’s signature number “Eight More Miles to Louisville.”
Last month, the Louisville Orchestra launched its new livestream series, LOVE, with a program showcasing the orchestral premiere of Davóne Tines’s VIGIL, with the composer as bass-baritone soloist. Created in collaboration with Dutch-French producer Igee Dieudonné, and arranged – on commission from the Louisville Orchestra – by Matthew Aucoin, the new work pays tribute to slain Louisville native Breonna Taylor, whose death has sparked an international outcry.
LOVE concludes with “American Soul” (Nov 21), a celebration of the seminal homegrown sounds of rhythm & blues, funk, do-wop, rock ’n’ roll, blues and jazz. Music Director Abrams explains:
“We have committed to three core values this year: improving the health of our community through music, providing exceptional music education to those who cannot afford it, and offering equal access to our music-making for everyone in Louisville. Our fall performances reflect these values, and they provide us with a chance to use our voice to heal and inspire our city when it needs us most.”
As Vogue magazine concluded in its recent feature on the VIGIL concert: “In Kentucky, the times are very much a-changing.”
About the Louisville Orchestra
Established in 1937 through the combined efforts of Louisville mayor Charles Farnsley and conductor Robert Whitney, the Louisville Orchestra is a cornerstone of the Louisville arts community. With the launch of First Edition Recordings in 1947, it became the first American orchestra to own a recording label. Six years later it received a Rockefeller grant of $500,000 to commission, record, and premiere music by living composers, thereby earning a place on the international circuit. In 2001, the Louisville Orchestra received the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, presented annually to a North American orchestra. In recognition of its continued commitment to new music, the Louisville Orchestra has won 19 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, as well as large grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the National Endowment for the Arts, both for the purpose of producing, manufacturing and marketing its historic First Edition Recordings collections. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for prestigious events at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and on tour in Mexico City, and its last two albums for the Decca Gold label, All In (2017) and The Order of Nature (2019) – the latter launched with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – both topped the Billboard Classical and Crossover charts. The feature-length Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes a City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years, and in spring 2018 Teddy Abrams and the orchestra were profiled on the popular television program CBS Sunday Morning.