“In the mid-20th century, the Louisville Orchestra occupied a unique place in American culture,” writes David Mermelstein in Wednesday’s (10/21) Wall Street Journal. “No other orchestra could match the Louisville Orchestra’s commitment to commissioning and performing new music. Maintaining that reputation has posed stark challenges over time … In December 2010, the group filed for chapter 11 … Labor accords in 2012 and 2013 salvaged the ensemble by reducing its salaried players to 55 from 71 and by cutting the number of contract weeks to 30 from 36. This season, the latter number rises to 32, and further expansion is expected. ‘Growth is certainly a priority,’ said Andrew Kipe, the orchestra’s sober and enterprising executive director…. Optimism colors most discussions regarding the orchestra these days, and its primary source is the now 28-year-old [Music Director Teddy] Abrams.… Abrams’s energy is prodigious, almost intimidating. Last month, he accomplished an astonishing feat, marshaling some 240 performers … in a gripping new staging of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Mass.’ … If he succeeds too well, more prominent and well-heeled orchestras will try to tempt him from his new home. Mr. Abrams goes to lengths to assert his loyalty to the Bluegrass State.”

Posted October 23, 2015