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KSO to perform ‘searingly dramatic choral journey’ Carmina Burana

February 26, 2018

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will perform Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana as part of the KSO Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series. The concert will take place Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. These performances are sponsored by Dalen and Bass, Berry + Sims. Tickets start at just $15. View tickets and information here.

Musical selections include Mahler’s Blumine, Weill’s Suite from The Threepenny Opera and Orff’s Carmina Burana. This concert explores the seemingly limitless range of characters embodied in melody and song, from the angelic and pure, to the folksy and visceral, all the way to the debaucherously profane. Performed in Latin by the Knoxville Choral Society, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is based on the scandalous medieval collection of poems by the same name. English translations will be projected on stage. Conducted by KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian, the combined forces of the Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Choral Society will consist of over 200 performers.

Knoxville Choral Society

Demirjian said, “Carmina Burana is a searingly dramatic choral journey that is alternately intense, humorous and sensual, and uniformly captivating due to its memorable melodies and vibrant orchestrations. Much like Beethoven’s Fifth or the 1812 Overture, Carmina occupies rare territory in the symphonic world in that it is instantly recognizable to almost anybody, whether you are a classical music connoisseur or recognize the tune from a beer commercial.

“Kurt Weill wrote music that ‘you don’t know that you know.’ Just as many can recall the opening notes of Carmina Burana, the opening song of Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, “Mack the Knife,” is just one of numerous songs in this suite that have become integral parts of our musical vernacular. Mahler’s Blumine is a tender and heartfelt concert opener, the conciseness of which contrasts the epic scale of the larger-than-life symphonies for which Mahler is best known.”

Tickets may be purchased by calling 865-291-3310 or visiting the KSO website. Single tickets range from $15-$88. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate by calling 865-521-2337.

Patrons can attend pre-concert chats at 6:30 p.m. in the concert hall before each performance. Guest performers will offer their personal perspective, and audience members will have a chance for a Q&A with the artists, a unique get-to-know-you opportunity.

Demirjian serves as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra after a four-year stint as Associate Conductor at the Kansas City Symphony. Demirjian is a recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award in 2017 and holds the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a three-time Conducting Fellow in the Aspen Conducting Academy. Demirjian holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and government from Harvard University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory.

The Knoxville Choral Society has brought some of the world’s greatest choral music to East Tennessee since 1951 and is dedicated to maintaining a rich tradition of choral excellence. Now under the baton of Dr. Eric Thorson, the KCS is a 130-voice auditioned chorus that performs choral masterworks and chamber pieces in a yearly concert series. The KCS sings regularly with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in the Clayton Holiday Concerts and performs major choral works in the KSO Masterworks series. Conductor of the Knoxville Choral Society since 1995 and artistic director since 1996, Thorson is a professor of music and director of choral studies at Carson-Newman University, where he teaches conducting and music education courses and directs the A Cappella Choir, Men’s Chorus, and Oratorio Chorus.

Soprano Rochelle Bard recently performed Norma, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux, Violetta in La Traviata, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Lucia di Lammermoor, and the title role in Maria Stuarda. Additional roles include Tosca, The Merry Widow, Magda in La Rondine, Micaëla in Carmen, and the four heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at such companies as Knoxville Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera Company of Middlebury, and Sacramento Opera. Bard has been a soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Hartford Symphony, Tanglewood and with Opera Orchestra of New York and MidAtlantic Opera at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Daniel Johnson-Webb, bass-baritone, has appeared in more than 300 performances including roles such as Colline in the Baz Luhrmann production of La Boheme on Broadway, and can be heard of the cast album (Dreamworks Records). Standout roles include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream, the title role in Don Pasquale and The Most Happy Fella, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, with such companies as Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Central City Opera, Tulsa Opera, Nashville Opera, Virginia Opera and Knoxville Opera. Most recently, Johnson-Webb has been featured in several productions with Marble City Opera of Knoxville including the regional premiere of Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen by Larry Delinger.

Andrew Skoog, tenor, made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall as tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Rutter, internationally acclaimed composer and conductor. He returned to Carnegie Hall in 2005 as tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana, with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Skoog has also sung with the American Symphony Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. He has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Albany Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Valley Symphony Orchestras.

About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Established in 1935, and now under the leadership of Music Director Aram Demirjian, the KSO has contributed to the cultural life in East Tennessee continuously for more than 80 years, providing excellence in musical and educational programs. The Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 300 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and the Civic Auditorium as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks and churches.  For more information regarding the KSO, please visit or call 865-291-3310.