Arts Blog

All In: Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra in the 21st Century

Conductor Teddy Abrams has a longstanding connection to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, as the music director of the Britt Festival. He also the heads the Louisville Orchestra, which has a history that is near-legendary in the realm of recorded music. In the 1950s, the mayor of Louisville, along with like-minded civic leaders, felt that American audiences deserved something that European audiences had enjoyed for centuries: music of their own time. The Louisville Orchestra recorded American music that no other label would touch. They performed it regularly, too, and between those two efforts, effectively changed the landscape of American music. Conductors around the world heard these recordings, and programmed more American music. The positive effects ripple into our own time.

However, we live in a new era, and Abrams, with the Louisville, are once again making new sounds heard. All In is the orchestra’s first recording in at least 20 years. It begins with Unified Field, by Mr. Abrams. The idea behind the piece is that we, as Americans in the 21st century, have access to more music than at any other time in history. As a result, we expose ourselves to a wider range of styles than anyone before us. Unified Field represents the many styles we encounter, but it’s also a musical portrait of America itself. The diversity and experiences that individuals and communities bring to the American cultural experience are expressed in his piece.

Abrams bridges the miles between Oregon and Kentucky with another, very special talent: Storm Large. She sings three songs on All In: One by her (A Woman’s Heart); a classic Cole Porter tune (It’s Alright with Me); and one written for her by Abrams: The Long Goodbye. All of them fantastic vehicles for Storm’s unique voice and abilities, and a good case for a musical “Unified Field” theory.

All InAbrams, Louisville Orchestra
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