The ascent of a music conducting expert : Paducah’s Logan Blackman: At only 17 years old, Blackman founded and conducted the Blackman Wind Symphony—a semi-professional wind ensemble based in Paducah, Kentucky. In addition to conducting, Blackman is currently a freelance bassoonist, organist, pianist, and composer. He obtained his bachelor’s in bassoon performance and master’s in conducting from the University of Kentucky in 2018. Needless to say, Logan Blackman is one exceptionally talented individual. We recently sat down with Blackman to talk about his craft, his love of music, and what inspires him. See even more info at Logan Blackman.
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.
Maestro Nardolillo conducted the final number of the evening’s performance, the heart-rending chorale finale, Make Our Garden Grow from Candide, with soprano Jessica Bayne, tenor Michael Pandolfo and Mixed Chorus. This duet between Candide and Cunegonde (characters from Voltaire’s French satire, Candide: Or the Optimist) was Bernstein’s message to us all: And let us try, / Before we die, / To make some sense of life. / We’ll do the best we know . . . / And make our garden grow. Pandolfo’s and Bayne’s voices were sublime as they shared Bernstein’s impassioned plea full of sincerity and optimism. And as the chorus joined in, magnifying Candide’s and Cunegonde’s emotions, Bernstein’s plan to unite us and give us a glimpse of our humanity will continue long past his 100th. It doesn’t matter that the clock stops ticking, eternal truths keep on truckin’.
Currently a music performance junior at UK, Blackman has studied conducting with Lucia Marin and Daniel Chetel, composition with Mike D’Ambrosio at Murray State University, bassoon with Professor Scott Erickson of Murray State University, organ with Bobbie Sue Chumbler of Paducah, and piano with Malissa Heath of Paducah. At UK School of Music, he is currently studying conducting with Nardollilo, composition with Professor Joseph Baber, and bassoon with Professor Peter Simpson. Find additional details at Logan Blackman.
Nardolillo says Blackman’s piece is nicely paired with the major work on Friday’s concert, Mahler’s “Titan” symphony. Both are rooted in deep, compelling emotions that will be clear to the audience. For Blackman, it’s emotion rooted in a painful memory, but he says he has been able to revisit it without being overwhelmed by the pain of his parents’ deaths. “I was 15 when they passed away, and since then, I have always dealt with it very well,” he says. “I’ve never really understood how. It’s not easy, by any means, but every time I hear it, every time I think about it, it makes it more meaningful. Personally, on my own side, it’s a good way to hash out thoughts and feelings that I might not have already hashed out.”