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Louisville Philharmonia performance to feature high school student solo

Orchestral musicians seated in chairs all facing to the left of the photo
Breya Jones
The Louisville Philharmonia Spring concert will feature several pieces, including one featuring a high school senior as soloist.

The Louisville Philharmonia is a musician-run orchestra bringing free, public performances to the community.

The Louisville Philharmonia is made up of serious amateur and semi-professional orchestral musicians.

Those same musicians are given a large say in how the organization is run, with playing members even comprising the Philharmonia’s board of directors.

“We're trying to be as democratic as possible,” said Tony Smith, a clarinet player in the Philharmonia and its program director. “I will send surveys to the orchestra, sometimes taking a poll on which of these pieces would you most like to play and let people choose.”

In their upcoming concert, the Louisville Philharmonia will play a selection of songs including works from Mozart, Beethoven and Lully.

Those selections will show each composer’s interpretation of Turkish marches. Smith credited Philharmonia conductor Daniel Spurlock with the idea of playing the marches back to back.

“So people could compare the different composers' ideas of what a Turkish sound was for an orchestra,” Smith said.

When selecting music, Smith tries to ensure as many members can be featured as possible.

“We also need to make sure we're trying to include as many of the different players as we can, so we ended up doing a lot of the bigger pieces that use the full orchestra as much as possible,” Smith said.

Another piece will feature the concert's only solo: Richard Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 1.”

Said horn will be the French Horn, played by Carson Kibiloski, who isn’t a regular member of the Louisville Philharmonia. The Oldham County High School senior won Philharmonia’s Young Persons Concerto Competition to secure his solo spot.

Kibiloski has been playing the French Horn since sixth grade. He saw the audition and opportunity to play with the Philharmonia as a means to further hone his skills.

“Part of it is just, like, performance experience,” Kibiloski said. “And it's just kind of fun, honestly.”

Auditioning as much as possible now will help Kibiloski prepare for future auditions in his musical career.

“It's a great privilege to be able to play in front of an orchestra,” said Colin Dorman, Kibiloski’s French Horn teacher. “It's not something a lot of people do, especially not in high school.”

Dorman is a former member of the Louisville Philharmonia. Seeing a student play with the group has been special.

“It's going to be great to see him up there,” Dorman said. “He's a great student, so he's earned the right to do it.”

The teacher said Kibiloski approached him with the idea of auditioning for the Philharmonia solo.

“I did not prepare him specifically for this; this was kind of a thing that he took on himself,” Dorman said. “It's a lot of work, a lot of groundwork on fundamentals, you know, learning different repertoire, learning how to play different styles.”

While an extension of his fundamentals, this particular performance is pushing Kibiloski outside his comfort zone.

“It's a little nerve-racking, because I've done recitals before, but I've never had anything like an orchestra, and that is more people than I'm used to,” he said.

Kibiloski is accustomed to playing with small ensembles or only accompanied by a piano. Communicating with many musicians at once on stage has been a different experience, but over the course of rehearsals, he’s gotten more comfortable.

“The more you do it, the less you're going to be nervous when you do it in the future,” he said. “I don't really get nervous until I'm up on stage, though. So I just kind of do my best to ignore it and keep playing.”

Music has been integral in Kibilokski’s life. He said he wouldn’t be himself without it.

“Your day and so much of your time, even outside of school, is spent playing your instrument and doing performances,” he said. “There's different connections that get made... overall [it’s] just a very different experience to what most people would experience in school.”

Making new connections, trying different musical styles and gaining more performance experience helps keep the music interesting and fresh in Kibiloski’s life.

He hopes concert attendees can feel the same way.

“I just want it to be fun for them to listen to,” Kibiloski said. “Even as a musician, sometimes you can listen to performances, and they can be kind of boring, but when you listen to one and it's exciting, you walk away feeling better.”

The Louisville Philharomonia’s spring concert is April 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Beargrass Christian Church in St. Matthews. The concert is free and open to the public.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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