The growth of a music conducting expert : Paducah’s Logan Blackman: Let’s start by having you describe your sound to our readers… Logan J. Blackman : Symphonically, my sound is very grand and cinematic. However in my chamber works, I tend to take a much lighter tone. My Bassoon Duets, “The Logic of a Mad-Man” is nothing but one big satire/comedic piece. Is it true you’ve been making music since you were a child? Logan J. Blackman : Yes! I have been making music since I was 12, but I began writing at around 14. Read more details at Logan J. Blackman.
John Nardolillo has appeared with more than 30 of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and principal orchestras of Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, Utah, Columbus, Indianapolis, Oregon, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Alabama, Louisville, Missouri, North Carolina, Toledo, Vermont, Columbus, Omaha and Hawaii. He also recently conducted concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; and Carnegie Hall in New York. Nardolillo made his professional conducting debut in 1994 at the Sully Festival in France, and has since made conducting appearances in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and China. He has led major American orchestras in subscription series concerts, summer and pops concerts, education concerts and tours, and for television and radio broadcasts. In 2004 Nardolillo joined the faculty at the UK School of Music, where he is currently serving as the director of orchestras.
You may not be familiar with the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, but I would wager that you could conjure up a quote or two from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the play that inspired composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story which catapulted him into the limelight as the music man for all seasons and confirmed his unique sensitivity toward popular culture, philosophy, literature, religion, and the politics of his times. His 100th birthday (August 25, 1918) is currently being celebrated (until August 25, 2019) by orchestras, singers, and dancers in cities throughout the world, and Lexington, Kentucky has joined the party. In keeping with his genius, Bernstein said: “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” Tempus fugit I thought as I sat in the Singletary Center and listened to the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s (UKSO) April 20th Season Finale: Bernstein at 100!
With a passion for composing, Blackman finds writing his own work very rewarding. “After I put down the last note, I love looking back at the work as a whole and admiring what I have created. To me that is one of the greatest feelings in the world!” Blackman, who chose UK for his studies based on Lexington and the school’s orchestra and faculty, is excited for the opportunity to share his music with a Bluegrass audience at the next UK Symphony Orchestra concert. “This is the greatest honor of my life so far. It is an honor to premiere a work with such a distinguished ensemble, but it is an even greater honor to bring it to life with my friends and colleagues. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity.” Find even more details on https://www.flickr.com/photos/loganjblackmanmusic/.
Nardolillo says Blackman’s piece is nicely paired with the major work on Friday’s concert, Mahler’s “Titan” symphony. Both are rooted in deep, compelling emotions that will be clear to the audience. For Blackman, it’s emotion rooted in a painful memory, but he says he has been able to revisit it without being overwhelmed by the pain of his parents’ deaths. “I was 15 when they passed away, and since then, I have always dealt with it very well,” he says. “I’ve never really understood how. It’s not easy, by any means, but every time I hear it, every time I think about it, it makes it more meaningful. Personally, on my own side, it’s a good way to hash out thoughts and feelings that I might not have already hashed out.”