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Teddy Abrams Opens Louisville Orchestra Season With Mahler and an Original Work

Teddy Abrams has arrived. The 27-year-oldnew music director of the Louisville Orchestra opens the orchestra's season Saturday with the annual Fanfara gala performance. Abrams, who moved to town this summer, stopped by WFPL studios earlier this week to talk Mahler, his own musical style, and weigh in on the best guitarists of all time.On programming Fanfara:"It's actually just two pieces on this program. I really wanted to choose works that feature the orchestra and celebrate this era here. It's an extraordinary ensemble that I think deserves to be front and center on stage at this concert. We're not bringing in a fancy special guest or anything like that. We're really putting the orchestra up front and saying let's all recognize what an extraordinary ensemble this is."On choosing Mahler's Symphony No. 1:"If you're ever going to choose a big blockbuster piece that shows off everything an orchestra can possibly do, it has to be Mahler. Mahler's pieces are vast. They're like giant landscapes of music. Or even better, they're like films, actually, because they're so incredibly rich in the sounds that they actually convey almost a narrative. You can almost see and experience plots being unfolded and told to you in incredible Technicolor orchestration." On his own style, which he will showcase in a new work, "Overture in Sonata Form": "There's always a danger when you're drawing or referencing so many different styles of music or different sounds, that it might sound like a collage, and I'm not interested in writing collages. I want this music to really be coherent. I want it to have plots and narrative devices, like Mahler. That only works when it has a beginning and a middle and an end, as music should. At the same time, my references are pop and folk and rock and funk, and Eastern European music like Klezmer music or Irish and Scottish fiddling, and certainly American Appalachian music, and classical music, and Romantic music." "Fanfara" is Saturday, 8:30 p.m., at the Kentucky Center's Whitney Hall.Abrams will also conduct the Louisville Orchestra in a free concert featuring works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and John Williams at the Iroquois Amphitheatre on Sunday, September 14 at 3 p.m. Classical 90.5 will broadcast the Louisville Orchestra's Iroquois Amphitheater concert live on Sunday at 3pm. See the complete Louisville Orchestra broadcast schedule here. Tune in at 90.5 FM or wuol.org.