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  • Writer's pictureRiotheart Media

Louisville Orchestra Putting Finishing Touches on concert at Mammoth Cave with Yo-Yo Ma

CAVE CITY, KY. -- Teddy Abrams, members and guests of the Louisville Orchestra, members of the Louisville Chamber Choir, National Park Service guides, and bass-baritone Davóne Tines will perform at Mammoth Cave National Park on Saturday with global icon Yo-Yo Ma featuring new music written by Abrams. This is a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience packed with music, light, story and movement.

“These performances are an homage to and celebration of this remarkable place, its history, and its people,” Abrams said. “Visitors have always been drawn to Mammoth Cave to experience its ancient stillness and expansiveness. It’s no surprise that this otherworldly treasure has inspired art in all forms, some of which can still be seen in the cave. Performing music in a cave where untold generations of people before us have created their own music connects us in a vital way to our past.”

The genesis of this project came about during a conversation between Abrams and Yo-Yo Ma in preparation for a podcast interview that Abrams conducted with Yo-Yo in 2020. Abrams composed his work with Yo-Yo in mind—to be performed in the environment of a large open passageway inside the cave known as Rafinesque Hall.

“The inspiration for this work is the interlinking of nature and humanity—the role caves play in our collective imagination and storytelling,” Abrams said. “From ancient mythology to modern fiction, caves have represented archetypical wonder and terror, symbolized the unknown, and served as the setting for our contemplation of the borders of life, death, and the great beyond.”

Zack Winokur will serve as director for the performances. With his work recently being described as “pure poetry” by The Boston Globe and “my favorite theatrical experience of the last decade” by The New York Times, Winokur is recognized as one of the most innovative and exciting talents working in opera today.

“In the process of creating this piece I have gotten to know people with deep history in these caves and surrounding lands, connecting with their generational stories of curiosity and discovery,” Winokur said. “I have been inspired by the work of the park guides and am excited to work with the properties of the cave—the pure blackout where you’re left with only your heartbeat, the cacophonous echoes of sound, the sensitivity of a pin dropping, the one light in the dark that can form a glow for us all to gather around—as we transform the stories of the cave into theater.”

In addition to Winokur, the production team includes Matthew Stone, executive producer; Mary Ellen Stebbins, lighting designer; and Chris Kincaid, sound designer.

These performances of Teddy Abrams, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Louisville Orchestra have been made possible by an exclusive leadership gift from The Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation.

There will be two shows on Saturday, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets for the shows were distributed through a lottery managed by the National Park Service and are no longer available.



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