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The Center to host National Symphony Orchestra concert on Feb. 24

By February 3, 2011No Comments

National Symphony Orchestra

A 100-piece world-renowned orchestra. A one-night-only performance by some of the nation’s leading musicians. A multimedia workshop streamed online and available to over 50,000 high school, middle school, and college students across the region.

The Center for Rural Development in Somerset is bringing these three elements and more together on Thursday, Feb. 24, in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and hear the National Symphony Orchestra—housed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C .—perform live for the first time in this region of Kentucky.

The Kentucky Arts Council, in partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra, proudly presents the 2011 American Residency. As part of the residency tour, in which the National Symphony Orchestra will make Kentucky its home from Feb. 17-25, the orchestra will present major concerts in each of the state’s six congressional districts and will travel to 35 communities to participate in more than 150 educational, outreach, and performance activities in 66 venues.

The concert performance at The Center, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., is the final stop on the 2011 American Residency tour and the only appearance scheduled for Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Under the direction of residency conductor Hugh Wolff, the orchestra will play a mix of contemporary and classical music, including Michael Daugherty’s musical reflection on America in Route 66, to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-Flat Major.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children and may be purchased online at, by contacting The Center at 606-677-6000, or visiting the Box Office, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset.
“The Center is very honored to represent the Fifth Congressional District and provide this rich, cultural experience to residents of our region,” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, said. “Through our Arts Outreach Program and in-house video production and Web-based technologies, tens of thousands of students across our 42-county primary service area will also be able to be a part of this historic day for The Center, our region, and commonwealth.”

National Symphony Orchestra cellists

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05)—whose vision powered the creation and opening of The Center in 1996—said he has had the pleasure of watching the National Symphony Orchestra numerous times during his 30 years in Washington, D.C.

He said he is very pleased that residents in his district will now have the same opportunity.
“Thanks to The Center, people across Southern Kentucky can enjoy their remarkable talent and understand why only elite musicians get to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra,” Rogers said. “They perform for presidential inaugurations, official holiday celebrations, countless international occasions, and now the orchestra is coming to Somerset, my hometown.”

Using The Center’s streaming multimedia technology—which records and synchronizes video and digital presentations for online viewing—a workshop presented by members of the orchestra will be made available to high schools, middle schools, and colleges and universities in the region.

Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events at The Center, said the one-hour workshop, “Connections: More Science and Music,” will feature National Symphony Orchestra musicians Yvonne Caruthers on cello, Natasha Bogachek on violin, and Stephen Dumaine on tuba in an ensemble performance filmed before a group of six Southern Middle School students in The Center’s television studio the morning of the concert performance.

“One of the goals of the National Symphony Orchestra is to provide an educational component to the tour and give students a chance to learn from some of the nation’s top musicians,” Winstead said. “The online workshop is one of the ways The Center’s arts outreach program is bringing the performing arts to students in rural Kentucky who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be exposed to this kind of cultural experience.”

Now celebrating its 80th season, the National Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Christoph Eschenbach, is committed to both artistic excellence and music education.

“Over the course of many residencies, I have observed the generosity of the musicians with their time and talents, and their creativity, as they form ensembles with programs geared to people of all ages,” Rita Shapiro, executive director for the National Symphony Orchestra, said. “Their enthusiastic participation has made the American Residency one of the signature projects of the National Symphony Orchestra.”

National Symphony Orchestra flute and oboe

“The National Symphony Orchestra 2011 American Residency Tour in Kentucky offers a fantastic opportunity to participate in a myriad of workshops and master classes and attend performances, lectures, and educational activities,” added Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council, which extended the invitation to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to bring the 2011 American Residency to Kentucky. “The Kentucky Arts Council is proud to serve as hosting partner for this incredible gift to the people of the Commonwealth.”

In addition to the concert performance, the jazz group Tom Taksa Jazz Quintet will perform from 6-7 p.m. at a free pre-show event in The Center’s front lobby. The pre-show event, sponsored by Clear Channel Lake Cumberland and Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, will include an optional catered dinner.

Proud media sponsors include Clear Channel Lake Cumberland and The Commonwealth Journal.

American Residencies are sponsored in part by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as it has been since 1994.  Duke Energy is the Supporting Sponsor of the 2011 NSO Kentucky Residency.  The NSO American Residency concert in Lexington is supported in part by Windstream Communications.  Since 2006, the chamber music and outreach performances have been supported by the Kennedy Center Abe Fortas Memorial Fund for chamber music and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.

For more information on the National Symphony Orchestra performance in Somerset or to purchase tickets, contact The Center at 606-677-6000 or visit