Salt Lake City’s Logan Blackman or the growth of a music orchestra conducting professional: When Blackman got to the University of Kentucky, he started working on adapting “Prayer” into an orchestral work, at first simply transcribing it. But then, he started to do more, and the work attracted attention. “He joined the orchestra as an undergraduate bassoonist, and it soon became clear that his interests were wider than just playing the bassoon,” UK Symphony Orchestra director John Nardolillo says. “I knew he composed, and he asked me if I would look at the score to this piece he’d been working on. Then he asked if he could take some conducting lessons. So he was working on conducting and I looked at the score, and the score is interesting, and his level of commitment and involvement and interest in conducting, composition and performing is quite high. The story of the piece is compelling, and it seemed like we were in a position to help him with those things. Read extra info at Logan J. Blackman.
What first inspired you to pursue music? Logan J. Blackman : Believe it or not, Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest. The summer it came out, I was captivated by the famous scene where he played his theme at the organ. I had a very basic knowledge of music, and we had some keyboards around. So I started playing around and eventually figured the piece out by ear. That led me to wanting to take organ lessons, which eventually led to a great love of music and a career that would keep going nearly two decades later!
Doors for the UK Symphony Orchestra concert open 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and free for UK students with a valid ID before the day of the performance (only purchase in person at the Singletary Center ticket office). A processing fee will be applied to tickets upon completion of transaction. Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office online at www.scfatickets.com, by phone at 859-257-4929, or in person at the venue.
In the next segment, Nardolillo playfully interacted with the audience in a little practice for our participation in two numbers from the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Along with the chorus, and before the orchestra came back on stage (he wanted to surprise them), he had us snapping our fingers in the Prologue and yelling “Mambo” in the fourth movement by the same name. We followed through and did no harm—Bernstein would have approved. The orchestra, of course, brought West Side Story back to life with these eleven Symphonic Dances. It made you want to sing and dance. Fortunately, no one tried but it set the tone for What a Movie from Trouble in Tahiti with Logan Blackman conducting and mezzo soprano Audrey Adams as soloist; Three Dance Episodes from On the Town, and Glitter and be Gay from Candide with James Burton conducting, and soprano Jessica Bayne as soloist.
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.” Read even more details at Logan J. Blackman.