PROFILE: Conductor Teddy Abrams plans to re-introduce the Louisv - WDRB 41 Louisville News

PROFILE: Conductor Teddy Abrams plans to re-introduce the Louisville Orchestra

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On Wednesday the man behind the music of Louisville's Orchestra let us inside a rehearsal. 

Conductor Teddy Abrams explained why his next concert means so much more than the rest. 

Abrams feels the nuance in every note. He's often called intense -- and with the pressure ahead, not even the injuries from a recent bike crash can slow his tempo.

"This show is designed to...be our one shot to demonstrate to a whole lot of people that the orchestra is relevant, connected and important," he said.

On Saturday, the Louisville Orchestra will host a free concert on the Waterfront. It's part of the city's Fourth of July celebration, and perhaps the most high-profile event after the orchestra's bankruptcy and strike. 

Abrams came to town as conductor one year ago with a revolutionary vision.

"Music does change people," he said. "It changes communities, it makes them stronger."

He's taking the concerts into the community in places they'd never been seen before. 

"These stereotypes and ideas that an orchestra is stuffy, playing music that people don't feel connected to -- that needs to go away," said Abrams.

He started by played piano in the streets on West Broadway on his first week on the job and followed that up by taking classically trained musicians into nightclubs and predominately black churches.

"He's so musically diverse I think it scares people to see what he can do," said St. Stephen Church Worship Director Jason Clayborn.  "We went from doing a praise and worship piece, to a a negro spiritual, to a Bach piece."

The Fourth of July event will feature the orchestra playing alongside rappers, gospel artists and singer songwriters. 

"My experiences with Teddy has been about bridging gaps, so you have the orchestra and their following....and then you have the people where I'm from and the music we make....from the west end of Louisville," said local rapper Jecorey "1200" Arthur. "The fact that they see them doing hip-hop music, the fact they they see them reaching out to communities, makes them feel like they can be a part of it in a different way."
 
In the next 12 months, Abrams plans to launch a masterclass workshop series for high school musicians, pop-up orchestra concerts in unexpected places around town and release more of his own compositions.

"For me, I need to take the music to people and see if I can make this a better place," Abrams said. 

He's called intense, and a musical genius. Abrams, like a great composition, is hitting the perfect crescendo. 

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