Arts and Culture

The Louisville Orchestra opened its final 2013-14 classics production in the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall this morning with a double-header of Beethoven, Symphonies No. 1 and the dramatic No. 9. His first symphony, which premiered in Vienna in 1800, heralded an emerging and influential talent in the generation following and building upon the work of his mentor Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Nearly a quarter of a century later, Beethoven premiered his Ninth Symphony in Berlin (1824), a work now widely recognized as one of the greatest works in the classical canon.  

Conducted by Jorge Mester, who will transition from his music director duties to an emeritus position this summer, the Orchestra was joined on stage by four soloists and a generous choir to do justice to Beethoven’s Ninth. Under the direction of Kent Hatteberg, the chorus giving voice to the final “Ode to Joy” movement is composed of members of the University of Louisville’s Collegiate Chorus and Cardinal Singers, Louisville Chamber Choir, Voces Novae and additional community singers.

Soloists Katie Van Kooten (soprano), Rebekah Bortz Hardin (mezzo-soprano), Daniel Weeks (tenor) and Kenneth Shaw (bass) gave a bravura performance that contributed to an extended, joyful standing ovation curtain call after the performance honoring the players, singers and conductors. 

The Orchestra performs this masterpiece one more time Friday evening in Whitney Hall. The next season opens with Fanfara conducted by music director designate Teddy Abrams on September 6, featuring a world premiere work by Abrams and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Titan).