Thursday, March 17, 2011

The KSO is excited to welcome back Conductor Emeritus Kirk Trevor to the KSO podium. He was the sixth conductor in the 75-year history of the KSO, directing from 1985-2003. Kirk was responsible for, among way more things, initiating the Clayton Holiday Concerts, for “Mahlerizing” the KSO, (he completed the cycle of all nine Mahler symphonies, of which until his tenure the KSO had taken 49 seasons to perform only numbers 1, 2 and 4), and for gambling-- and winning-- on a powerful production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that sold out 8 performances at the Civic Auditorium in March of 2000. And last but not least, he is the man who hired me.

We will also be welcoming back his daughter, Chloe, who will solo in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto at the KSO’s Masterworks concert next Thursday and Friday at the Tennessee Theatre. A third and very special guest is Serge Prokofiev’s engaging 5th Symphony, (with the scherzo that seems to be based on Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home), composed during the KSO’s inaugural season and last heard here in January of ‘89. Arnold Bax’s Overture to Adventure completes the program that will surely be a shining star in the firmament of the KSO’s 75th season.

I don’t know how many concerts over the years I played under the baton of Maestro Trevor, but it is surely in the hundreds. My first concert here included Sibelius 2nd and Walton’s Cello Concerto, two pieces I’d never played. It was the first time through much of the repertoire for me and I loved every minute of it. The early Pops concerts were interesting, to say the least. Former Vols and Dallas Cowboys star Bill Bates narrated a piece called Freddy the Football at a concert in the OLD Knoxville Convention Center; on another, the late, great Chet Atkins had a dude come out and lip-synch Ray Stevens’ The Streak. Some fine Pops artists came through town back then, though; Emmy-Lou Harris, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, Lou Rawls, The Kingston Trio...

Classically speaking, Kirk took some pretty heady chances. Not too many are still in town who remember the Korngold, Vorisek or Elgar symphonies we did, the David Ott Viola Concerto, Murray Schaeffer’s East, or 13-year-old Dalit Paz Warshaw’s Ruth. The following link is a treasure to see, as it can lead you to the program for every single concert Kirk conducted here.

more later...

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