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Showing the Love with Music Makes a City

music makes a city

If you love WUOL, you probably love the Louisville Orchestra as well. As part of our membership drive, we're offering the homegrown documentary Music Makes a City, the story of the founding and subsequent fame of the Louisville Orchestra, as a thank you gift.

Music Makes a City begins with the story of the great Ohio River Flood of 1937 and the founding of the Louisville Orchestra as part of the effort to rebuild the city after the disaster.  It then recounts the hard work and dedication of the young conductor Robert Whitney and Louisville mayor Charles Farnsley to keep the orchestra afloat, and the mayor's bright idea to make the Louisville Orchestra into a cultural icon by commissioning new works by contemporary composers. This scheme brought the Louisville Orchestra into an international spotlight, with a performance in New York's Carnegie Hall and a visit by a group of Soviet composers including Shostakovich.

In light of the Louisville Orchestra's recent trouble, rebirth, and seemingly bright future with the leadership of Teddy Abrams and Andrew Kipe, Music Makes a City is an important reminder of the truly remarkable history of the institution. The film includes musical excerpts from the Louisville Orchestra's First Edition recordings, and the special features disc is chock-full of interviews with composers like Ned Rorem and Elliott Carter, who had works premiered here by the Orchestra, and with members of the community who experienced much of the history first hand. Hearing these full interviews, where great American composers give their opinion of Louisville while Louisvillians give their opinions of the composers, are interesting in themselves, even taken out of the context of the documentary.

Hear directors Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler talk talk about some of this unique history and how it unfolds in their documentary.

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We are currently offering Music Makes a City as a gift for members who pledge $15 a month or more.