If you drive down Main Street these days, the music you hear might be new members of Louisville Ballet getting ready for another season.
Joseph Cox rejoins the company as a principal dancer. Last summer he married Kimberly Nygren, who has been a member of the local troupe since 1991.
Christine Schwaner and Luke Jaffe come here from the Cleveland Ballet. They bring an international flavor to the local ensemble, as Schwaner hails from Brazil while Jaffe is a native of South Africa.
Alexander Lodigiani is here for the first time after dancing for Tulsa Ballet and the Nevada Ballet Theatre.
A most recent trainee with the North Carolina School of the Arts, Morgen Hulen will have his first professional season, while New Albany high school graduate Jaclyn LeGrande will be joining the company as an apprentice.
Several promotions within the company have taken place: Kenneth Braso, Mikelle Bruzina and Claire Turman Greenlee have advanced from soloists to first soloists while Robert LaTurner, Kimberly Nygren Cox and Delilah Smyth rose from second soloists from the corps de ballet.
The Louisville premiere of “Appalachian Waltz” will be September 21-23 . It draws on images and themes of the Appalachian region and translates them into a series of dances with a variety of moods.
“Psalms” makes use of “Chichester Psalms,” a choral work in Hebrew by Leonard Bernstein, commissioned by the Cathedral of Chichester in Sussex, England.
The “Danses Concertantes” is a suite of dances in the neo-classical style. The choreography is by Alun Jones, music by Igor Stravinsky. The costume designs are also a Jones creation.
Trevor Cushman is the recently arrived Business Manager for the Kentucky Dance Council and the Louisville Ballet. He brings with him a considerable reputation as a widely experienced, innovative arts executive for the past 17 years, notably in Salt Lake City and more recently in Hartford, Connecticut.
He has never been a professional musician or dancer, yet as he says, "I have learned to understand ballet and I love it very much.” A third generation Yale alumnus and a Phi Beta Kappa who worked in his alma mater's Development Office, Cushman worked at New York's Lincoln Center and was been the first paid President for New Hampshire's Edward MacDowell Art Colony. He founded and led a United Way' that raised over $6 million in matching gifts.
He has already begun work on two objectives: bringing the ballet to various communities in the Commonwealth and other outlets developing a comprehensive youth program for Dance Kentucky that would let the young people have and run their own ballet program. "It is not enough simply to offer special youth performances and invite them here to watch rehearsals. They need to have hands on experiences by learning what it takes to run an organization like ours," Cushman said.
Finally, Cushman made it very clear that he wants all the art groups (ballet, opera, orchestra, the Bach Society) to work together on these objectives. “We will all benefit."
This year's U Of L Faculty Gala Recital was incredibly rich and diverse, featuring works composed by eleven composers, performed by almost two dozen virtuosos and involving twenty different instruments.
Following a hearty welcome by Dean Herbert Koerselman, it got underway with the ever-lively Faculty Jazz Ensemble. It included samples of verbal expertise from local luminaries such as Edie Davis and Daniel Weeks and instrumental delights by the McHugh-Oliphant Duo on the violin-piano. The audience especially seemed to relish Lee Luvisi's interpretation of a Schubert "Impromptu," the lively presentation of "Till's Merry Pranks” and three other quite diverse ensembles. In a class by themselves were Daniel Weeks' two vocal solos.
Edith Davis Tidwell scored a singular triumph. It always is a treat to hear her present one of Verdi's immortal arias but she enhanced the audience's delight by letting them realize the dramatic moment, which Verdi brought to life as only he could. The audience clearly appreciated it.
Irish pianist and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medal winner Barry Douglas will make his Louisville debut with a Coffee Concert and a Masterworks Concert with the Louisville Orchestra.
Conductor Uriel Segal will open the program with the colorful and infrequently heard "Overture To Der Freischutz" (The FreeShooter) by Carl Maria van Weber. Douglas will then give the audience a piano concerto, late 20th Century style, penned by John Corigliano, the composer in residence who will be at the University of Louisville School of Music next month.
The concerts will conclude with Antonin Dvorak's "From the New World," (his 9th Symphony), the first symphony composed under inspiration from American culture by a composer who temporarily resided in this country. (It would not be at all surprising if the composer were present for this concert.)
The Coffee Concert is scheduled for Thursday October 19 at 10:30 a.m and the MasterWorks on Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m.
Other LO events of note are the Bank One Louisville Pops, conducted by Bob Bernhardt, at the Louisville Palace on October 7 with Burt Bacharach and on November 3 with Patti LuPone, Tony winning singer of "Evita." LuPone's appearance will be a Breeders' Cup Eve celebration.
Then at 8 p.m. on November 2, at UofL's Margaret Comstock Concert Hall, the second of the LG&E Energy New Dimensions, conducted by Robert Franz. UofL New Music Festival Composer in Residence John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances; a world premiere of Satterwhite's Symphony No. 2 and Aaron Jay Kernis' Second Symphony.
For more information, call 502-587-8681.