89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Sun, 01 Feb 2015 14:27:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Louisville Orchestra Presents World Premiere of Chang Symphony http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-presents-world-premiere-chang-symphony/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-presents-world-premiere-chang-symphony/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 14:17:56 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=31126 Teddy Abrams led the Louisville Orchestra on Thursday and Friday in two symphonies: one premiere and the other one of the most performed since its premiere in 1876. The new work by Sebastian Chang—and commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra—is his … Read Story

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Sebastian ChangSubmitted photo

Sebastian Chang

Teddy Abrams led the Louisville Orchestra on Thursday and Friday in two symphonies: one premiere and the other one of the most performed since its premiere in 1876. The new work by Sebastian Chang—and commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra—is his first major composition, clocking in at around 30 minutes. Titled “Classical Symphony,” it’s modeled on those of Mozart and Haydn, but with a musical language of today (Prokofiev did the same this with his first symphony).

Chang’s symphony is charming, with moments of nostalgia hinting at Leonard Bernstein and Bernard Herrmann. Chang seems most comfortable writing lush jazz chords or memorable tunes (I’ve remembered the second movement theme since hearing it once at the first rehearsal in December). He is melodically gifted and wants to say something that is personal in every gesture. Chang is also charming, and he smiles a lot, just like his music.

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An orchestra at a premiere is a tightly wound band, which can lead to a mechanical performance. But these performances were full of care and musicality, led by Abrams—who didn’t just lead the music, but understood it. Chang’s romantic score gives the bulk of the melodic material to the violins, which at times felt like too much. I kept hoping for some prominent cello lines, or individual wind and brass players showcased. The Whitney Hall audiences were genuinely thrilled, giving Chang a warm, enthusiastic welcome.

At both performances Abrams noted the history of the Louisville Orchestra as a commissioning organization, and how this premiere was continuing that tradition. Crucial in reviving this reputation is funding. The money to commission a composer fairly for their work must come from within the community (individuals, organizations and foundations), even as the orchestra seeks funders on a national level. A composer earns in a year what a high-profile soloist makes in one night. Equally, the composers who are commissioned should be well-known and lesser-known, from around the country and close to home.

Johannes Brahms carefully deliberated over his first symphony for 20 years. Was he a rookie composer and unsure of himself? No, he had written a monumental “Requiem,” a piano concerto, two lengthy works for orchestra and dozens of chamber works. You could say Brahms developed a complex thanks to Beethoven’s legacy—he, Johannes, was the chosen successor. As a result, we get a symphony that wrestles with demons, finds beauty and playfulness around us, and finally stands on higher ground, like a preacher to the flock, eyes widened and fists shaking.

The orchestra plunged into this complex, emotional narrative, fully invested in every bit of the drama. More tender moments in the music were led by the principal winds and brass. Concertmaster Michael Davis soared at the end of the second movement. Oboist Jennifer Potochnic was sublime, and her richly delivered solos lingered long after their ending. During the symphony’s driving moments, Abrams pushed the orchestra to the edge, almost saying “Let’s try to get even closer!” He was as much a leader as a cheerleader, giving validation to an ensemble that knew exactly what to do. The final movement, an operatic apotheosis, was a statement in and of itself triumphing for Brahms and the Louisville Orchestra.

Daniel Gilliam is the program director for WFPL’s sister station, WUOL Classical 90.5.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-presents-world-premiere-chang-symphony/feed/ 0 Community Complaints Against Louisville Metro Police Decline Sharply http://wfpl.org/community-complaints-louisville-metro-police-decline-sharply/ http://wfpl.org/community-complaints-louisville-metro-police-decline-sharply/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=30939 As a national debate about law enforcement practices gripped the nation, formal complaints by community members against Louisville Metro Police were at a five-year low. In 2014, 26 community complaints were filed against police—nearly 80 percent fewer than 2010, according to … Read Story

]]> As a national debate about law enforcement practices gripped the nation, formal complaints by community members against Louisville Metro Police were at a five-year low. In 2014, 26 community complaints were filed against police—nearly 80 percent fewer than 2010, according to information provided by LMPD. Two of 2014′s 26 community complaints were “sustained,” meaning police investigators found the complaints to be justified. The others are pending. Louisville-Metro-Police-Civilian-Complaints-Complaints_chartbuilder Of the 355 cases filed since 2010, 22 percent have been substantiated, according to the data. Why the decline? Police don’t know. Louisville Metro Police’s Professional Standards Unit investigates internal and community allegations of violations of department rules. Major Don Burbrink, the unit’s commander, the decline in community complaints could be a result of an increase in “chief initiations”—complaint that comes from within the department and is backed by Chief Steve Conrad. “Basically, when the chief gets wind of something that one of our officers may have done something, he may then initiate a complaint and, so, we would investigate that,” Burbrink said in an interview with WFPL. In fact, professional standards complaints issued by the chief have increased steadily—to 32 percent—since 2012, according to a recent report from the unit. These complaints from within the department can stem from an officer improperly filing a report, an officer being involved in a vehicle accident as a result of unsafe driving by the officer, or a simple phone call from a concerned community member, Burbrink said. Cameras have also made investigating complaints, both internal and external, much more efficient, he said. He said it’s becoming common for a residents to report a problem with an officer’s division supervisor after an encounter with police via phone rather than filing a formal complaint. “I don’t know why that is—if it’s more convenient,” Burbrink said. In other cases, a resident’s attorney may advise them to hold on filing a complaint until pending litigation is resolved, he said. The filing process has remained the same for nearly a decade, so no policy changes would have led to the fall in complaints, said Carolyn Miller-Cooper, executive director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission. Miller-Cooper said she doesn’t have an answer for the drop in complaints, but she offered some thoughts. “It could be that the police officers are doing a good job. It could be that people have no  reason to file a complaint. It could be that individuals choose not to, for whatever reason, engage the system,” she said. Not wanting to participate in the processes of government, though, is nothing unique to Louisville residents, she added. People “throughout our community and throughout the nation” regularly opt out of jury processes and voting processes, Miller-Cooper said, adding that the complaint process isn’t much different. But filing a complaint is relatively simple, she said. There are two options. Before the process begins, people mulling a complaint should have the facts in order regarding their encounter with LMPD, Miller-Cooper said. The complaint should have “the specifics”—the date, time and location of the event and, if possible, the officer’s name and badge number, she said. A formal complaint may be filed with the city’s ombudsman, or citizen advocate, Stella Dorsey. Complaints may also be filed directly at the Professional Standards Unit. Either way, the complaint will eventually need to be formally entered at police headquarters. “It’s really less intimidating when you have the citizen advocate with you,” she said. Once filed, the Professional Standards Unit will investigate the complaint and “a determination is made and a finding is issued by the police chief,” Miller-Cooper said. A resident can appeal a decision to the Police Merit Board. Legal ramifications for non-sustained complaints against an officer are not a threat to residents, because there aren’t any, she said. But she quickly added that filing fallacious complaints is not recommended. “Somebody cannot show up and just say an officer did X, Y and Z; I don’t know when, I don’t know location,” she said. “Records can be checked.” Burbrink said the complaint process is important to the police department. “It tells us how are officers are doing and how they treat people,” he said. “It may alert us to a problem officer. It’s important for us to listen to the people and hear what they are saying.” Last year, Professional Standard Unit investigations resulted in 14 officers being suspended, four received a written reprimand, three resigned, one directed to counseling and one officer losing the right to use a “take-home” vehicle, according to LMPD data. In 2013, more than 30 officers received a written reprimand, 18 were suspended and four officers were terminated, according to the data. Here are the most common allegations that lead to a Professional Standards Unit investigation of an officer:

lmpd complaints chart 2Louisville Metro Police Department

  Kate Miller of the ACLU of Louisville encourages residents who believe they have been a victim of abuse or mistreatment by  police to record the facts of the event immediately so they can be accurately called upon later. And then, go file a complaint. “Outdated and abusive practices can continue just because no one has ever questioned them,” she said.  “It’s really an important responsibility of citizens to hold folks accountable and question those practices they have issues with.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/community-complaints-louisville-metro-police-decline-sharply/feed/ 0 Kentucky Derby Museum Celebrates Jockey Isaac Burns Murphy http://wfpl.org/murphy/ http://wfpl.org/murphy/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 12:01:19 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=31107 Isaac Burns Murphy was known as the “Prince of Jockeys”—the Kentucky native and mounted three Kentucky Derby winners during his career. Coinciding with Black History Month, the Kentucky Derby Museum is hosting an exhibit on Murphy’s life. The exhibit will focus … Read Story

]]> Isaac Burns Murphy was known as the “Prince of Jockeys”—the Kentucky native and mounted three Kentucky Derby winners during his career.

Coinciding with Black History Month, the Kentucky Derby Museum is hosting an exhibit on Murphy’s life.

The exhibit will focus on Murphy’s achievements and struggles, said Greg Keightley, a spokesman for the Kentucky Derby Museum.

“He just really overcame a lot in his life to become one of the renowned jockeys,” Keightley said.

Using photographs, illustrations and texts, the exhibit of 25 didactic panels will also explore the significance of African Americans to the development of horse racing.

“We are extremely proud to help celebrate the deep history of African American riders in the Kentucky Derby through this exhibit,” Museum President Lynn Ashton said. “Murphy is a legendary figure in Thoroughbred circles, and his career and achievements are delightfully highlighted for a new generation.”

Murphy was also the first black jockey to enter the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame.

The event was inspired by a recent biography of Murphy titled “The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy.” The author Pellom McDaniels, assistant professor of African American Studies at Emory University, will be attend the exhibit on Feb. 22 to discuss and autograph copies of his book.

You can find the exhibit on the 2nd floor of the Pollard Gallery. It runs until May 31.

]]> http://wfpl.org/murphy/feed/ 0 Here Are the Plans For the Louisville Orchestra’s 2015-16 Season http://wfpl.org/plans-louisville-orchestras-2015-16-season/ http://wfpl.org/plans-louisville-orchestras-2015-16-season/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 04:01:45 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=31093 The second season of Teddy Abrams’ music directorship was announced Friday night at the Kentucky Center. Where last season was programmed, roughly, half by Abrams and half by Music Director Emeritus Jorge Mester, 2015-2016 is mostly Abrams, with two concerts … Read Story

]]> The second season of Teddy Abrams’ music directorship was announced Friday night at the Kentucky Center.

Where last season was programmed, roughly, half by Abrams and half by Music Director Emeritus Jorge Mester, 2015-2016 is mostly Abrams, with two concerts led by Mester.

There is nothing restrained or timid next season—this is not an orchestra playing it safe. In fact, one could argue that this season is full of risks, artistically and financially. Producing works that require a large orchestra—and most on next season do—can add up. But this doesn’t feel like opulence. Rather, what we see here is an orchestra trying to earn back a reputation for being adventurous and innovative.

What has typically been a glitz and glamour, concerto-focused Fanfara, complete with high-price soloist, is now called “Opening Night” and looks to be the most ambitious season opener ever by the Louisville Orchestra, and possibly among any American orchestra of similar budget or market size. If you thought “Carmina Burana” was extravagant, Abrams will unleash Leonard Bernstein’s eclectic “Mass” to open the season on Sept. 26 . Jubilant Sykes will sing the Celebrant, a role that garnered him a Grammy nomination in 2009. Bernstein’s musical theater work calls for two orchestras (one in the pit and one on stage), two soloists, two choirs, a rock band, and “street musicians,” which includes 45 singers and percussion. Composed for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., “Mass” juxtaposes traditional Latin Mass texts with new lyrics by with Bernstein himself, Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Wicked”) and Paul Simon.

Now the tone is set for one of the most unique seasons this city has ever seen, replete with premieres and collaborations. Abrams, the composer, has scheduled himself for two new works: a fanfare in March and a work for “Community Collaborators.” In late January the orchestra will feature a commission from students at Abrams’ alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music. A young American composer named Chase Morrin will write and perform a new piano concerto as part of a “Festival of American Music.”

Cast in two parts in March and April, the festival includes Mason Bates’ “Mothership,” for orchestra and electronica (a laptop), premiered in 2011 by the YouTube Symphony and viewed live by two million people on YouTube. Bates is paired with his fellow Californian John Adams’ “Harmonielehre” (German for “study of harmony”), a 40-minute work for large orchestra. Abrams will be the soloist in Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, and the latter’s post-war Symphony No. 3 concludes the festival.

Another collaboration takes the orchestra and Louisville Ballet relationship beyond “The Nutcracker” for two works in March: a choreographed Philip Glass Violin Concerto and Stravinsky’s dark burlesque “Petrouchka.”

Among this season’s soloists are pianist William Wolfram playing Rachmaninoff’s second concerto with Jorge Mester, violinist Augustin Hadelich tackling the monumental violin concerto of Brahms and Bela Fleck closing the season with his banjo concerto “The Imposter,” a work commissioned by the Nashville Symphony.

unnamedBob Bernhardt’s Pops Series brings a few notable soloists, too, opening with Family Guy creator and crooner Seth MacFarlane singing American Songbook standards. MacFarlane released an album in 2011 of songs from the ’40s and ’50s. Viewers of “Family Guy”  know him as the voice of Stewie. Randy Jackson (of the band Zebra, not American Idol) will perform as Robert Plant with Brent Havens conducting, Ann Hampton Callaway will sing the Streisand Songbook, and Pink Martini, a group that includes vocalist Storm Large, joins the Louisville Orchestra on March 19.

Returning for more to-be-announced concerts are the Family Concert Series, Music Without Borders, WOW! Series events, Magic of Music and Holiday concerts. The orchestra also unveiled new logos at Friday’s post-concert announcement.

Daniel Gilliam is the program director for WFPL’s sister station WUOL Classical 90.5.

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/plans-louisville-orchestras-2015-16-season/feed/ 0 Celebration Planned for Thomas Merton’s 100th Birthday http://wfpl.org/celebration-planned-thomas-mertons-100th-birthday/ http://wfpl.org/celebration-planned-thomas-mertons-100th-birthday/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:38:02 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=31083 The Center for Interfaith Relations is hosting a birthday celebration for the late Thomas Merton, the world-renowned author and monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky. Merton would have turned 100 on Saturday. He died in 1968. “Thomas Merton … Read Story

]]> The Center for Interfaith Relations is hosting a birthday celebration for the late Thomas Merton, the world-renowned author and monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky.

Merton would have turned 100 on Saturday. He died in 1968.

“Thomas Merton is the most renowned mystical writer and interfaith leader in Roman Catholicism of the 20th century,” said Keith Runyon, a spokesman for the Center for Interfaith Relations (and a WFPL commentator).

But Runyon  said that the critical acclaim and worldwide fame did not pull Merton away from his life as a monk. He donated all of the profits from his book to the Abbey so that he could keep his vow of poverty.

“He had an amazing gift of writing,” said Runyon. ”And he led a very interesting life in that he became a celebrity even though he was a monk who had taken this vow of silence and poverty.”

The event begins at noon Saturday with remarks by Mayor Greg Fischer at the Brown Theatre. The celebration will end with a screening of a new documentary on Merton’s life.

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