Teddy Abrams, Louisville Orchestra Music Director, named 2022 Conductor of the Year by Musical America



Musical America today announced that Teddy Abrams, the conductor now galvanizing into his eighth season as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra-was named Conductor of the Year for 2022. Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher publicly congratulated Abrams at a press conference shortly after the announcement.

Since making his debut in Louisville, the conductor has been praised for his efforts to connect the orchestra to the community at large, most recently exemplified by his musical responses to the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as creative initiatives like his rap -opera The Greatest, honoring the heavyweight champion and

Louisville native Mohamed Ali and starring local rapper Jecorey Arthur, now newly elected as one of the Louisville Metro city councilors. Abrams is also Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. As a recipient of this prestigious award, he joins a long list of conductors that includes Sailor Alsop, Jaap van Zweden, Gianandrea Noseda, Pablo Heras-Casado, Franz Welser-Möst, and Abrams’ own mentor, Michael tilson thomas. The videotaped response of the conductor upon receiving the award news can be seen here.

Lee Kirkwood, chairman of the board of directors of the Louisville Orchestra, applauded Musical America’s decision:

“Sea so proud of him and will continue to show it by supporting his vision.”

Abrams replied:

“I am incredibly grateful and overwhelmed to receive this award from Musical America; the honor, however, should be shared by my amazing colleagues here in Louisville, on and off stage, who have become my family for the past seven seasons. worked tirelessly together to live by our values: to interconnect the endless pursuit of the creative spirit with the call to service and communion on behalf of our city. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished so far in Louisville, and I believe we are beginning an era of transformation and growth in a city that deserves it and in an industry that needs a bold redefinition.After a particularly difficult time in Louisville’s history, I am thrilled may Musical America offer this recognition for our orchestra and this spotlight on our beautiful city and our beautiful state. “

As the pandemic began, Abrams redoubled his efforts to bring comfort through music to people across town. He and the orchestra participated in “Lift Up Lou,” working with Mayor Fisher to provide Louisville residents with “uplifting and engaging” live and shareable content, as well as ideas for staying connected, all available on the website. social networks. As part of the same initiative, Abrams brought together numerous Louisville-based musicians to record the collaborative song “Lift Up Louisville,” the proceeds of which were donated to the One Louisville COVID-19 Response Fund. Lift Up Lou’s “Music on the Move” program also brought music directly to residents of Louisville, first by asking the multi-faceted conductor and musician to perform a series of ephemeral solo shows on his electronic keyboard. in city districts, as reported in the local Mail-Journal. Meanwhile, Abrams offered personal ten-minute online “comfort concerts” throughout the pandemic and co-hosted the radio show “In This Together” on WUOL Classical Louisville. The Louisville Orchestra, for its part, replaced its previously announced fall offerings with four online concerts in the “Louisville Orchestra Virtual Edition (LOVE)” – broadcast live and then available for on-demand viewing – since Louisville’s brand new venue, Old Forester’s Paristown Hall. Abrams’ tireless community involvement, not only during the pandemic but throughout his tenure, received considerable attention from the national media, including an article in Vogue who detailed the orchestra’s season opening virtual concert honoring Breonna Taylor, and profiles on PBS Articulate show it PBS Newshour and NPR.

Highlights for the 2021-22 Louisville Orchestra season include six world premieres; works by color composers and female composers of three centuries; a three-part Latin American music festival with world premieres by Angélica Negrón and Dafnis Prieto; and the first concert in a multi-season series exploring black and Jewish music. A highlight of the season is the world premiere of Abrams’ Piano Concerto, written for and featuring a renowned pianist. Yuja wang. Also presented are the world premieres of Adolphus Hailstork’s Fourth Symphony and a commission from the Louisville Orchestra of young Louisville composer KiMani Bridges, a new edition of the popular “Teddy Talks …” series deconstructing the “Great” Schubert’s Symphony in C major, performances of The Music of Steve Reich for 18 musicians and the group composition The Blue Hour at Paris City Hall Old Forester, and much more. Participation in all performances in the 2021-22 season is subject to currently recommended COVID-19 security protocols.

Conductor, composer, pianist and clarinetist Teddy Abrams has been a revitalizing force in the Louisville Orchestra, of which he is the musical director. Raised in Oakland, California, he became a protégé of Michael tilson thomas at only 12 years old. The same energy and motivation he displays on the podium today earned him a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the age of 18 before being accepted by Curtis as his youngest conducting student. orchestra. In Louisville, he made his mark not only as a visionary and galvanizing conductor, but also with creative initiatives such as his rap-opera honoring one of Louisville’s heavyweight champions. Mohamed Ali. A born leader, Abrams has drawn in the local community with his musical responses to the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.



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