Rachel Grimes at Green Building and Big Ears

rachel at theater de NWE Vorst

This week you’ll have two opportunities to hear Rachel Grimes play. The first is on Thursday at the Green Building (Doors open at 7pm. Limited tickets available at Guestroom Records), where she’ll play with saxophonist Jacob Duncan and cellist Helen Money, and share the bill with another Louisvillian Cheyenne Mize, and with vocalist Susanna.

For the second concert, you have to drive to Knoxville, Tennessee for the 2014 Big Ears Festival. There she’ll reprise her performance with Duncan and Money, and be part of a lineup that includes Steve Reich, So Percussion, Jonny Greenwood (composer of scores to There Will Be Blood) and more.

(Photo above by William van der Voort from her De NWE Vorst concert)

Featured Album: Alisa Weilerstein – Dvorák

Alisa Weilerstein

Alisa Weilerstein’s latest album captures one of Antonin Dvorák’s best-loved works, his Cello Concerto, and two handfuls of gorgeous songs and arrangements. The whole album was recorded in the same concert hall that Dvorák conducted his own music. Jiří Bělohlávek conducts the Czech Philharmonic for the concerto, and Anna Polonsky plays piano for the rest of the album. Ms. Weilerstein is also a spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Women’s History Month – Joan Tower


Joan Tower was a late-bloomer as a composer. Her first break-out composition, “Sequoia”, was written when Tower was 41. Tower’s music is closely tied to the Louisville Orchestra as the LO recorded several of her works for their “First Edition” series.

Joan Tower was born in New York, but moved to Bolivia when she was a child. The rhythmic music of that area can be heard in many of her compositions. Tower’s early music career was as a pianist. She co-founded the music group called the Da Capo Chamber Players in 1969. She wrote many works for the group to perform. She eventually left the group in the mid 1980′s as her composing career took flight. Tower was appointed composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Tower became the first woman recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for music, awarded by the University of Louisville for her composition “Silver Ladders”, in 1990.

Five of Tower’s works were recorded by the Louisville Orchestra, including her concertos for clarinet, flute and piano. She’s also featured in the documentary about the Louisville Orchestra called “Music Makes a City”, which is currently being offered as a gift from WUOL if you pledge during our spring membership campaign.
Enjoy this interview with Ms. Tower as she discusses the challenges faced by the contemporary composer.

Showing the Love with Music Makes a City

music makes a city

If you love WUOL, you probably love the Louisville Orchestra as well. As part of our membership drive, we’re offering the homegrown documentary Music Makes a City, the story of the founding and subsequent fame of the Louisville Orchestra, as a thank you gift.

Music Makes a City begins with the story of the great Ohio River Flood of 1937 and the founding of the Louisville Orchestra as part of the effort to rebuild the city after the disaster.  It then recounts the hard work and dedication of the young conductor Robert Whitney and Louisville mayor Charles Farnsley to keep the orchestra afloat, and the mayor’s bright idea to make the Louisville Orchestra into a cultural icon by commissioning new works by contemporary composers. This scheme brought the Louisville Orchestra into an international spotlight, with a performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall and a visit by a group of Soviet composers including Shostakovich.

In light of the Louisville Orchestra’s recent trouble, rebirth, and seemingly bright future with the leadership of Teddy Abrams and Andrew Kipe, Music Makes a City is an important reminder of the truly remarkable history of the institution. The film includes musical excerpts from the Louisville Orchestra’s First Edition recordings, and the special features disc is chock-full of interviews with composers like Ned Rorem and Elliott Carter, who had works premiered here by the Orchestra, and with members of the community who experienced much of the history first hand. Hearing these full interviews, where great American composers give their opinion of Louisville while Louisvillians give their opinions of the composers, are interesting in themselves, even taken out of the context of the documentary.

Hear directors Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler talk talk about some of this unique history and how it unfolds in their documentary.

We are currently offering Music Makes a City as a gift for members who pledge $15 a month or more.

Bourbon Baroque & Les Sauvages

Louisville’s Bourbon Baroque and the Squallis Puppeteers are presenting a unique version of Rameau’s “Les Sauvages.” Alan Brandt talked to Bourbon Baroque’s John Austin Clark and Nico Fortin about the trials and triumphs of this collaboration.