Vienna Philharmonic in Bluegrass Country

I’m still not really sure how I missed this one until after the fact. Last Monday, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with Gustavo Dudamel on the podium, came to Danville, Kentucky, population roughly 18,000.

Danville is the site of Centre College, a private liberal arts college that houses the Norton Center for the Arts, a one-of-a-kind performance program that has had as its raison d’etre the bringing of top national and international acts for the benefit of students and the local population. Among the orchestras that have played the Norton are the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Royal Philharmonic, the Cleveland Ochestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and instrumental stars like Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. The schedule is diverse, though: Tony Bennett is on for October 4, Smokey Robinson on October 22, and the Tokyo String Quartet on October 28.

Clearly, this kind of program does not come cheap–the mix of commercial sponsors and private benefactors must be substantial. Alltech, an animal health manufacturer, has managed to work this sponsorship into their sponsorship of the currently underway 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, 30 miles to the northeast.

On a local note, a University of Tennessee School of Music graduate, Jeremy Wilson, is a trombonist with the Vienna Philharmonic and one of the few Americans to have gained a position in that orchestra. Wilson will be the subject of the February 12, 2011, concert of the UT Symphony Orchestra.

I can only mention wistfully what Dudamel and the orchestra performed: Dvorák’s New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9), Leonard Bernstein’s Divertimento, and two works by Maurice Ravel, Pavane for a Dead Princess and Boléro. Loren Tice’s review (Lexington Herald-Leader) of the concert can be found here.

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One response to “Vienna Philharmonic in Bluegrass Country

  1. Hi Alan! My name is Abby, with Centre College. I’m sorry you missed the performance! The entire event was incredible. Here’s a link, if you’d like, to a story in the Knoxville News-Sentinel about Jeremy Wilson: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/oct/03/ut-grad-plays-with-renowned-orchestra/