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Kentucky Symphony Orchestra presents ‘War of the Romantics’ (a musical debate) Saturday at Greaves

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra opens its 31st season with its own musical debate, just two weeks prior to the noisy midterm elections.

With a tongue-in-cheek approach to concert presentation, the KSO digs into music history and the two schools of 19th C. composition that so greatly impacted the classical repertoire that we continue to perform and revere today. Both Brahms and Wagner took their inspiration from Beethoven, but from there, they went in opposite directions.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) championed a more traditional, conservative (absolutist) style of symphonic and chamber music. Contemporaries and followers of this camp included Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim. They preferred the instrumental musical forms (symphony, concerto, sonata, dances, etc), that were handed down to them from Mozart and Haydn, to apply
their own innovation and enhancements.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) took a different more progressive (programmatic) path, writing harmonically complex, heavily orchestrated, drammatic, and epic operas. Franz Liszt and Hector
Berlioz, though Hungarian and French, were aligned with this new German school.

Much as with today’s political leanings, classical audiences, critics, and composers supported one camp or the other based on their musical preference, and were readily rebuked by friends, families and colleagues for their affiliation.

The KSO thought it might be fun to stage a civil, symphonic debate between the two musical parties, with each composer offering opening symphonic remarks (Rienzi Overture, Symphony No. 3) and reversing the order of their responses (Five Hungarian Dances, “Prelude and Liebestod”) before each issues brief closing statements (“Ride of the Valkyries,” Hungarian Dance, No. 5). KSO music director, James Cassidy (who claims to have no horse in this race) will act as moderator/conductor. The audience will brandish campaign buttons supporting their candidate composer. An on-line survey will determine the winner.

Join the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and soprano, Joy Burdette at Greaves Concert Hall for the “War of the Romantics” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22, on the campus of NKU in Highland Heights.

Joy Burdette

Tickets for each show remain $35 for the best seats to experience great musicians, guest artists and innovative programming unique to our region. For those who are out of the area or who must stay home, the KSO live streams each concert (with multiple cameras) for your ‘at home access’ for the price of a single ticket. Tickets are avail- able online at kyso.org or by phone at (859) 431-6216.

Dramatic soprano, Dr. Joy Burdette, has been a professor of voice at Northern Kentucky University for 24 years. She has performed opera, oratorio, and concert works regionally and internationally.
A few of her operatic roles include Leonore in Il Trovatore, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and the title role in Vanessa. She has performed comprimario roles as well as professional chorus work, with Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy, Cincinnati Opera and Kentucky Opera. Joy has performed with regional orchestras and choruses including the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, Lebanon Symphony Orchestra, Voices of the Commonwealth, University of Louisville, University of Virginia, Northern Kentucky University, Hartnell Chorus, and the Northern Kentucky Community Chorus.

She is making her KSO debut with this program.

She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Louisville School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of the Cumberlands.

A regular with Cincinnati Opera chorus for over twenty years, she is often featured soloist for outreach events and opera chorus showcase concerts. A member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Joy presents recitals and masterclasses regularly, and is in demand as an adjudicator. She resides in Northern Kentucky with her husband Tony and children, Calia and Benjamin.

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