Tag: Teddy Abrams

Amid orchestra’s contract talks, lessons learned after the wolf’s been chased away

July 4th Louisville orchestra
Music Director Teddy Abrams leads players during a July 4th concert at Waterfont Park.
Louisville Orchestra‘s 2011 bankruptcy recalls one of the morals from Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” — let down your guard, and you may get gobbled up. Back then, the ensemble had grown overly reliant on a relative handful of backers, missing signs their generosity was about to dry up amid the financial crisis.

“No one wanted to face the reality that one day support would end,” Jorge Mester, the music director at the time, told The New York Times for a story about a string of financial crises roiling orchestras that spring.

Now, five years later, the Louisville orchestra is on far more stable footing. Contributions and grants jumped 29% in the year ended May 31, 2015, bringing total revenue to $7.2 million, according to its most recent IRS tax return. After expenses, that left a $1.3 million surplus. The endowment rose about 3% to nearly $1.6 million.

Launched in 1937, the orchestra has about 170 employees and an energetic music director, Teddy Abrams, who started in 2014 after working as assistant conductor at the Detroit Symphony. Abrams, 29, is among a new vanguard of conductors hoping to attract a younger audience and a wider donor base to guard against another sharp downtown.

Against that backdrop, management and players have started negotiations for a new contract to replace one that expired last spring, according to The Courier-Journal. They’re not alone. From coast to coast this year, other ensembles have been in contract talks, too, amid a stronger economy that’s fortified players’ resolve to claw back wages and benefits lost during the financial crisis.

andrew-kipe
Kipe
The tenor of Louisville’s contract talks isn’t known because negotiators aren’t talking publicly. “The organization is still a bit fragile, and we are in the middle of planning,” Executive Director Andrew Kipe told the newspaper.

But a review of the group’s recent IRS returns, alongside contract talks at other orchestras, offers a glimpse at the fraught stakes involved. Continue reading “Amid orchestra’s contract talks, lessons learned after the wolf’s been chased away”

Sound the cannon! Ring those bells! Sunday brings Abrams, the orchestra — and the ‘1812’ Overture to Waterfront Park

Music Director Teddy Abrams will lead the full Louisville Orchestra at Waterfront Park Sunday in the city’s annual July 4th celebration. All the cool fun starts at 5 p.m., with fireworks sponsored by the Louisville Bats. More details here.

Here’s the orchestra last year performing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, written in 1880 and now a staple for Fourth of July celebrations:

How did 1812 become the orchestral community’s answer to ballet’s Nutcracker? Credit Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops’ televised performance in 1974, replete with cannons, an expanded bell choir and fireworks, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Kentucky Opera names Dallas’ Derrer as new general director, in 2nd recent hire among big local cultural groups

Madame Butterly
The 2016-17 season starts with the classic Madame Butterly.

Ian Derrer, artistic administrator at Dallas Opera for the past two years, started his career at New York City Opera in 2004, after receiving his masters degrees in opera production, voice and performing arts management from Northwestern University and Brooklyn College, and a bachelor’s of music in voice performance from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

Kentucky Opera announced his appointment yesterday, effective Sept. 1. Derrer, 41, will oversee a 64-year-old organization with a $2.4 million budget. He succeeds David Roth, who died unexpectedly last July.

Ian Derrer
Derrer

In 2006, Derrer moved to Chicago’s Lyric Opera, starting as rehearsal administrator and moving up to production director and head of the rehearsal department. In all, Derrer spent eight seasons there, with one summer as rehearsal director at Santa Fe Opera.

As artistic administrator at Dallas, Derrer oversees budgets for the orchestra, chorus, and principal artists as well as members of the artistic staff, orchestra librarian, orchestra manager, chorus secretary, and scheduling department. The company was founded in 1957, five years after Louisville’s. Its budget is considerably larger, however: $14.2 million for the year ended in June 2014, according to its most recent annual IRS tax return.

Dallas Opera CEO Keith Cerny praised Derrer’s work, telling The Courier-Journal that he “guided important artistic and patron relationships, in addition to serving as advisor to both the music director and me.”

Louisville’s 2016-17 season of three productions starts Sept. 23 at the Brown Theatre with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Dallas Opera’s upcoming five-production season also includes Butterfly.

Shifting artistic leadership

Derrer’s is at least the second appointment this year Continue reading “Kentucky Opera names Dallas’ Derrer as new general director, in 2nd recent hire among big local cultural groups”

Yo-Yo Ma’s biggest fear isn’t stage fright

Yo Yo MaThe world-renowned cellist, who’s performing with the Louisville Orchestra in October, tackles Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire today. A sampling reveals a recurring theme:

What is your greatest fear? Very large bugs.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A bird. I could travel for free and then eat the bugs.

Ma will play Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $50 to $400, for a post-concert party  at the Muhammad Ali Center with cocktails, dinner, and live entertainment to celebrate the 2016-2017 season opening.

The orchestra has been led by music director Teddy Abrams since 2014. Read more about the orchestra’s history.