The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Returns Home to Kick-off 25th Season

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The KSO's Silver Anniversary is a testament to the quality, vision and flexibility of the organization and its loyal following. The adventurous thematic programming and variety continue to differentiate this orchestra from its traditional counterparts, as it returns to Greaves Concert Hall where it began in 1992.

The KSO kicks off its 25th Anniversary Season October 22nd in Greaves Concert Hall, NKU

In 1992 timing, opportunity and vision came together to create what is now the KSO — James Cassidy, Music Director & Founder

Twenty-four years ago this Fall, the Northern Kentucky Symphony, now the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (KSO), took the stage for the first time at the newly opened Greaves Concert Hall on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. To mark the group’s 25th Anniversary Season, the KSO returns to its “Old Kentucky Home” for 4 of its 5 subscription series concerts. The orchestra, which in 1992 inadvertently mailed its first season brochure to 3,000 dogs and cats (via an Iams Pet Food mailing list), has remained true to its mission — making the symphonic concert experience — attractive, accessible and affordable for the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.

Determined to eliminate the perceived and real barriers to the classical concert experience, KSO music director and founder James R. Cassidy continues to employ programming to offer variety, to balance budgets and to authentically explore a variety of musical genres. His success has fostered a people-friendly brand of cultural entertainment that engages and educates, while making a personal connection with the audience. “The region provided a deep talent pool and Northern Kentucky needed its own flagship performing arts organization, so timing, opportunity and vision came together to create the KSO,” Cassidy remarked. Having performed for over 700,000 people (a half million free of charge), the KSO, with its premiere performances, unique themes and collaborations, has always positioned itself ahead of the national programming curve, while boasting hundreds of alumni in regional and major orchestras across the globe.

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra opens its 25th Anniversary Season on October 22nd with an all-orchestral program of overtures, appearing to jet-set back and forth between America and Europe in a program dubbed “The Over Tour.” From warhorses (William Tell, Poet and Peasant, Zampa Overtures) to younger race horses (Celebration, Circus and Tam O’Shanter Overtures), the program features familiar 19th century favorites to the high, loud and fast sonic subtleties of the 20-21st centuries. In other words the evening is all over the map, but no passport is required.

For November 20th’s matinee performance at Cincinnati’s St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, the KSO teams up with the Cathedral choir led by Tony DiCello for a 400+ year span of music. The program titled “Touched by an Angel” musically/liturgically recounts the angel Gabriel’s message to Mary of her impending motherhood and birth of Jesus. In 16th century Venice, Giovanni Gabrieli wrote for antiphonal brass and choirs utilizing the lofts of San Marco’s Cathedral to create a new sonic effect. 2015 Grammy nominee Kim Arnesen’s Magnificat will receive its area premiere with the KSO strings, organ and piano together with the Cathedral choir. This is truly inspired soul music.

Makeover mania (homes, fashion, physique) has captivated reality television audiences for more than a decade. On January 14, 2017, the KSO applies the “Extreme Makeover” concept to the music of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, with the orchestrational assistance of composers Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg respectively. Hearing J.S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in c Minor for organ in the hands of a full orchestra is exhilarating, while Mahler’s dynamic and formal tinkering and expanded instrumental forces in his rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 offer a variety of new colors and expectations. The G minor Piano Quartet of Brahms is no longer a chamber piece once Schoenberg pulls together his 20th c. orchestral palette (including mallet percussion). Think of this program as The Three Bs on steroids, or simply the opportunity to hear 6 composers through the works of 3, and across three centuries.

In 1984 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart again became the brightest star in classical music via Milos Forman’s award-winning film based on Peter Schaffer’s play Amadeus. On April 8, 2017 the film comes alive via the entire score simultaneously performed live to the screening of the movie, complete with Tom Hulce’s maniacal laugh and F. Murray Abraham’s droll wit. To the Emperor’s on screen comment to Mozart about his opera The Marriage of Figaro — “There are simply too many notes.” — KSO Music Director, Cassidy retorts “you have no idea” as he prepares to conduct the 3-hour score. The KSO’s presentation of Amadeus Live will be the 2nd performance in the U.S. (Eugene, OR being first). Members of Voices of the Commonwealth, Tony Burdette director, and Cincinnati Camerata, Brett Scott, director will supply the choral forces. Pianist Sandra Rivers performs all of the solo piano work. Amadeus Live is an Avex Classics International production.

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra closes its 25th Season on May 13th (Mother’s Day Weekend) with The Battle of Broadway: Sondheim vs. Webber. Composers Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber (who coincidentally have the same birthday — March 22) ruled the boards on Broadway and the West End for most of the 1970s-80s compiling hit song after hit song in a string of award winning musicals. Home-grown, bona fide Broadway stars Pamela Myers and Jessica Hendy will be featured, singing the hit tunes of these living legends. Sondheim shows represented include: West Side Story. Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. Sir Andrew’s side of the card includes Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita. Cats, Starlight Express and Phantom of the Opera.

Join the KSO for its Silver Anniversary Season. True to its mission, traditional subscriptions, which guarantee the same seat for each of the five concerts, are $85 -$160 for adults and $50 - $90 for Children (ages 6-18) depending on seat location. If a traditional package is less appealing patrons can pick and choose particular concerts with a Flex-Pak Subscription — a set of 6 vouchers to use anytime / in any combination for $112 — $208. Single Tickets, if available, go on sale 3 weeks prior to each concert. For more information, or to order tickets, visit the KSO on-line ( or call (859) 431-6216.

About the KSO:
For nearly 25 years The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has taken the “phony” out of symphony through live thematic concerts that culturally enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The KSO performs throughout Northern Kentucky with three series of concerts.

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James R. Cassidy
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
since: 07/2009
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