Orchestra concert to combine classical, folk music

By Autumn Harbison

Hard work and practice will take UK students to Carnegie Hall for a performance with folk singer Arlo Guthrie. First, though, they will perform a preview of their concert here in Kentucky.

The UK Symphony Orchestra will be performing with Guthrie at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Concert Hall in the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The concert, a preview for the orchestra’s performance at Carnegie Hall later this month, will also be a celebration of “In Times Like These,” the album Guthrie recorded with the UK Symphony in 2006, said John Nardolillo, music director and conductor of the UK Symphony Orchestra.

The idea for the collaboration began shortly after he and Guthrie met backstage at a concert in New York eight years ago, Nardolillo said.

“It all started with a ‘wouldn’t it be fun if’ conversation,” Nardolillo said.

Nardolillo said because the orchestra primarily plays classical pieces, working with Guthrie allows the students to connect with different types of music.

Although he said that working with Guthrie will help students broaden horizons, Nardolillo said folk and classical music are not as far apart as some might think.

For example, Aaron Copland’s 1944 orchestral suite “Appalachian Spring,” part of tonight’s performance, blends folk and classical elements, Nardolillo said.

Alexandra Harper, who plays viola in the orchestra, described the music selections in Friday’s concert as a mixture of styles.

“It’s some upbeat classical with old tunes people are going to know,” said Harper, a music performance sophomore. “I think it will bring a different look to people about our orchestra concerts.”

Harper, who joined the orchestra after the group’s 2006 collaboration with Guthrie, said she was looking forward to performing with him.

“It’s going to be a really great experience,” said Harper.

The orchestra’s previous concert with Guthrie sold out. He expects a large turnout for this one as well, and encourages people to come see the show, Nardolillo said.

“It will be an exciting night of American music,” said Nardolillo.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased through the Singletary Center Web site (www.singletarytickets.com). Prices range from $30 to $45 depending on their location in the concert hall. UK faculty, staff and students can purchase tickets in rows D through R for $25.

“He is one of the most remarkable artists I’ve come across,” Nardolillo said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to work with an artist of that caliber.”