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Featuring Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and Rachel Grimes, composer
A 75-minute musical work, The Blue Hour is based on the poetry of the award-winning journalist, poet, and writer Carolyn Forché using text from her poem “On Earth.” The poem catalogs scattered thoughts, visions, and imagery collected throughout Forché’s life and attempts to “control uncontrollable realities, such as death, by imposing arbitrary rules and structures on the chaotic and inevitable.” The poetic structure is known as “abecedarian,” which is an alphabetical arrangement of short phrases from A to Z.
The music reflects the fragmentary nature of the poem with a kaleidoscope of sound-painting featuring a string orchestra and vocalist.
The notable composers – Rachel Grimes, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Angelica Negron, Shara Nova, and Caroline Shaw -- are women with rising careers in creating music for orchestras and other mixed ensembles. While success in the field of orchestra composition is rare, it is even more rare for women to achieve. The collaboration of these five composers represents an extraordinary achievement that is both artistic and historic.
Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, together with composer Rachel Grimes, will present a reading from the poetry of Carolyn Forché. They will share the details of the creative process of composing and performing a contemporary piece of music based on a unique work of poetry.
Heralded “one of American independent music’s few truly inspired technicians” by WIRE magazine, Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. She has toured worldwide as a solo pianist, and her work has been performed by such artists as A Far Cry, Longleash, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Trio, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Portland Cello Project, Cicada, Orchestra Kandinskij, Borusan Quartet and Önder sisters, Kansas City Symphony, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisville Orchestra. Rachel has performed at some of the world’s most diverse music festivals including Big Ears, Ecstatic Music Festival, Substrata, All Tomorrow’s Parties, P Festival, and CrossLinx. Collaborators include Loscil, SITI Company, astrïd and Sylvain Chauveau, Chris Wells, Scott Moore, Jacob Duncan, Matthew Nolan and Erik Friedlander. Solo releases: The Way Forth (Temporary Residence Ltd. 2019), The Doctor From India (soundtrack 2018), Through the Sparkle (with astrïd on Gizeh Records 2017), The Clearing (Temporary Residence Ltd. 2015), Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, and Compound Leaves. She is a member of Louisville rock band King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground) and a founding member of the ground-breaking indie-rock chamber ensemble Rachel’s, with whom she toured and released six albums.
Teddy Abrams is Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra (KY) and the Britt Festival (OR). A versatile musician, Abrams is also a composer, pianist, and clarinetist, as well as guest conducting across the U.S. A tireless advocate for the power of music, Abrams promotes interdisciplinary collaboration with organizations including the Louisville Ballet, the Center for Interfaith Relations, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Speed Art Museum, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Released on Decca Gold, All In—Abram’s debut album with the Louisville Orchestra— featured Abrams’ original work “Unified Field” and hit #1 on the US Classical Traditional Chart.
"Blue Hour is an elusive book, because it is ever in pursuit of what the German poet Novalis called 'the [lost] presence beyond appearance.' The longest poem, 'On Earth,' is a transcription of mind passing from life into death, in the form of an abecedary, modeled on ancient gnostic hymns.