UK Symphony Orchestra opens 104th concert season


The Otis A. Singletary Center for the Arts on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Kendall Staton, Asst. News Editor

UK Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) will kick off its 2022-2023 concert season Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. with the performance of three compositions.

Led by UKSO conductor John Nardolillo, the orchestra will perform Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro”, Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonies fantastique” and Gabriella Smith’s “Tumblebird Contrails.” This marks the Kentucky premiere of Smith’s piece.

Smith’s website described the title as a “nonsense phrase” invented to evoke the feeling and sound of the musical piece.

“Tumblebird Contrails is inspired by a single moment I experienced while backpacking in Point Reyes, sitting in the sand at the edge of the ocean, listening to the hallucinatory sounds of the Pacific,” Smith’s website said.

Although Nardolillo has worked at the university for 18 years, he said he still feels like the new guy. He highlighted the exciting pieces the orchestra will perform this Friday, calling “Boléro” and “Symphonie fantastique” two of the most popular pieces of music ever written.

Nardolillo said the concert will feature two church bells loaned from the Cincinnati orchestra, each weighing over 200 pounds. These bells will be used in a movement of “Boléro.”

“We have a very exciting orchestra and people will love the concert,” he said. “They’ll love this music, so they don’t want to miss it.”

UKSO will return to UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall for the first performance of its 104th concert season. The all-student orchestra is comprised of 100 members and performs over 50 concerts every season, according to UK School of Music.

Tickets are free in advance for all UK students through the Singletary Center for the Arts Ticket Office. Presentation of a UK Student ID is required. Free advanced tickets are not available the day of the show.

Other attendees can purchase tickets online or on Friday ahead of the performance.