LYO Gets a New Music Director

Deanna Tham

Mahler and Tchaikovsky symphonies are often big, expensive endeavors for professional orchestras, and they may seem out of reach for youth orchestras.

But the newly appointed music director for the Louisville Youth Orchestra sees opportunity in big symphonies for young players.

I spoke with Deanna Tham about her goals as the new conductor of the Louisville Youth Orchestra, and how to approach teaching orchestral music to the next generation of musicians.

On the balance between being a teacher to young people and coaching musicians in a mock professional setting:

“You let the music do the teaching. The music, it’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. The music that’s being created now is going to be around hopefully for hundreds and hundreds of years, and it offers so much on its own.

“I don’t even think about teaching. The music is teaching me, and I am just relaying that information to those students. I might frame it in a different way. I might have to coach them in, hey, if we want to get this effect, you’re going to have to do these things. And those are just mechanics. But that’s what the music is teaching me. I hear something that comes back from them at me from the orchestra and I go, look, it’s nothing personal, it’s nothing about education, this is just the way it’s supposed to sound, this is what the music is supposed to do.”

On her ambitions for the Louisville Youth Orchestra:

“That’s what really got me — being in that culture — really got me excited about playing classical music was playing those huge pieces, and you can do that in youth orchestra. There are limitations in youth orchestra, which is what allows me to play those, I take advantage of those limitations in the sense that in a professional orchestra, you have to program down or program smart. And it’s not that I don’t program smart. But in a youth orchestra, I’m trying to get as many people to play as I can.

“That opens up to things like ‘Pines of Rome’ is absolutely something we can do, anything that’s Mahler is absolutely something we can do because the numbers are so huge. And you know what? That’s what got me excited about music. And that’s what I want to get these kids excited about.”

In-Studio: Longleash + Suzanne Farrin


Longleash (a piano trio) returns to Kentucky, this August, for their annual Loretto Project, and will stop by Classical 90.5 for an in-studio on August 17th at noon. They’ll be joined by composer Suzanne Farrin, who will also play the ondes Martenot.

Longleash In-Studio
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 at noon
Classical 90.5
619 S. Fourth Street
Free and open-to-the-public

ondes martenot

Pinchas Zukerman’s Recording Career

pinchas z album cover

Pinchas Zukerman’s recording career spans almost 50 years and over 100 recordings. He’s been nominated for a Grammy 21 times, and has won two of them. Now Deutsche Grammophon is re-releasing some of his best work with the prolific German recording company, and his work on the Philips label, in a limited edition, 22-disc set. Daniel Gilliam spoke with Zukerman about his career in the recording world.

Nature and Music

Woods and Undergrowth Vincent van Gogh

This week we’re learning all about music and nature.

 Join us for our free event on the Waterfront’s Harbor Lawn!

Rescheduled to AUGUST 1st 6 – 10 p.m. due to rain!

Kites and Classical


Kite Building with KMAC, picnic food and drinks for sale from Wiltshire Pantry, and beautiful music from Classical 90.5 to accompany the sun setting over the Ohio!

Audio for Kids! 

Listen to our 3-part series: Wilderness Music


Check out more audio and resources at


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1953 LO Program : Look into the Past

The Louisville Orchestra: Used with permission of Ruth French

Below is an original 1953 Louisville Orchestra Program. Violinist Ruth French (Ruth Scott in the program) shared this program from her beginning years with the Orchestra. Hear more of her story here.

LO program page 1

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