Louisville Orchestra at the Ogle Center on November 11, performing music of Rimsky-Korsakov.

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On November 11, the Louisville Orchestra will be at the Ogle Center on the campus of Indiana University Southeast, performing two works by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Before I turn to the press release, here’s a snippet from something previously written about a period in my life when music like this first resonated deeply.

In my early twenties, I was gripped by an interest in all things Russian. Significantly, this evolving infatuation was primarily bookish, not to be directly linked to the usual cultural suspects, like potent vodka, Slavic women, winter sports or taboo Communism.


Both hard liquor and girls were intimidating, and what’s more, they could be a dangerous temptation for an overly shy guy perpetually in search of liquid courage. This is something I’d learned the hard way. As for ice, snow, and frozen tundra, moderation is key; once in a while suffices, not six solid months. Small wonder the Russians drank so much.


To be fair, Communism was a demonstrable aspect of the attraction, albeit in a strictly voyeuristic sense, best assayed from afar, and not to be confused with any desire to live it. The Scandinavian socialist model struck me as a viable alternative. Just the same, I wanted to be able to say that I’d been there and seen the other kind. Professor Thackeray’s lectures on history had found a sweet spot, indeed. I was hooked.


What was it about the Tsarist Russia that managed to produce Lenin, Stalin and seven decades of so-called dialectical materialism, when even the Marxist revolutionaries themselves had been schooled to reject the possibility of it happening in such a backward place?


Yet, for all the poverty and reactionary tendencies, Tsarist times also gave the world Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky and Borodin; many were the nights I struggled drunkenly through passages of obscure Russian literature (in translation) while playing and replaying Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture.


Then came the biggest question of all: After Russia’s catastrophe in the Great War – society’s meltdown, the Tsar’s murder, the bloody creation of the USSR – how did the country survive Stalin’s famines, purges and gulags, and still rally to bludgeon the Nazi dragon?


This was my father’s constant fascination, and I came to share it.


 — From Euro ’85, Part 30 … Or, as it was called at the time, Leningrad.

During the period immediately after college, I had albums but no home audio system apart from a radio. My car stereo also had the standard AM-FM radio of the time, as well as a cassette player. The money I earned from working two jobs was divided into day-to-day support and savings for the Euro ’85 trip.

In short, unwilling to spend money on consumer goods, I mostly borrowed books from the public library and listened to the radio — and occasionally took cassettes to the library at IU Southeast to copy the classical albums there, because by this time I’d become enamored of the classical/formal repertoire coming to me from WUOL, the University of Louisville classical station.

In retrospect, surely I was aware of the time squandered partying while earning my undergraduate degree; once resolved to go to Europe, I began compensating by jamming as much literature, art and culture into my noggin as waking hours would permit — while still working and maintaining proper drinking form.

All of which is to say that Russian Easter Overture and Scheherazade were as much a part of my soundtrack back then as the songs spilling from MTV while camped at the bar, trying to bluff my way past last call.

I can’t wait to hear the orchestra perform them at the Ogle Center on November 11.

The Louisville Orchestra Presents Scheherazade in Three Locations


Teddy Abrams Leads the LG+E Music Without Borders Series and the
Neighborhood Series at the Ogle Center


Louisville, KY (10.11.2017)… On November 9, 10, & 11, the Louisville Orchestra travels Louisville, Jeffersontown and Indiana performing the music of Rimsky-Korsakov. Scheherazade and the Russian Easter Overture; exotic, beautiful and exceptionally brilliant orchestral works, come alive under the direction of Teddy Abrams. This concert offers adventure and excitement as you experience the exotic One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and the spectacle of the Russian Easter celebrations.


The LG+E Music Without Borders Series and the Neighborhood concerts at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural + Community Center are an ideal way to engage with the community through a shared musical adventure. The Louisville Orchestra brings short, thematic concerts to venues throughout the city, and into YOUR neighborhood.


Tickets for Scheherazade are $20. Student tickets with a valid I.D. are $10.


LG+E Music Without Borders performance of Scheherazade opens at The Temple (5101 US HWY 42, Louisville, KY 40241) on Thursday, November 9 at 7:30PM and returns to The Jeffersonian (formerly the Jeffersontown Community Center), 10617 Taylorsville Rd., Jeffersontown, Kentucky 40229) on Friday, November 10 at 7:30PM. Tickets are available by calling 502.584.7777 or visiting LouisvilleOrchestra.org.


Tickets for the Neighborhood concerts at the Ogle Center are available by calling 812.941.2525 or visiting LouisvilleOrchestra.org. The Neighborhood Concert at the Ogle Center (4201 Grant Line Rd, New Albany, IN 47150) is on Saturday, November 11 at 7:30PM.

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