April 16, 2024 –The Louisville Orchestra, under the visionary leadership of Music Director Teddy Abrams, is thrilled to announce the continuation of “In Harmony – The Commonwealth Tour” through 2024 to 2026, bolstered by a significant $4.3 million funding allocation from the Kentucky State Legislature. This landmark initiative, which began in 2022, has already made a profound impact, reaching over 27,000 Kentuckians across 38 counties through more than 125 events, and is now set to extend its reach further into the heart of Kentucky communities. This funding will enable the orchestra to deepen community engagement and enrich the cultural fabric across urban and rural divides throughout the state.

Senate President Robert Stivers commented, “The remarkable impact of the Louisville Orchestra’s ‘In Harmony’ tour plays a significant role in bridging the rural-urban divide. This initiative extends beyond entertainment; it is a vehicle for education, cultural enrichment, and community cohesion. By supporting the continuation of this tour, we are investing in the cultural wealth of our commonwealth, reinforcing our commitment to enhancing the lives of Kentuckians through the arts. It’s initiatives like these that showcase the Bluegrass’ rich artistic heritage and pave the way for a future where everyone can participate and draw inspiration in the beauty of orchestral music.”


House Speaker David Osborne remarked, “The continued success of ‘In Harmony – The Commonwealth Tour’ represents a unique investment in our state’s culture, improving quality of life and enriching our communities. The Louisville Orchestra’s initiative is a testament to the power of the arts in bringing Kentuckians together and reminding us that we have a great deal to take pride in and celebrate. We are pleased to allocate funding that will not only extend this valuable program but also amplify its reach to more communities, ensuring that every Kentuckian has the opportunity to experience this incredible asset to our Commonwealth.”


A Tour of Unprecedented Scope and Impact


“In Harmony” has redefined the concert experience, bringing the full force of the Orchestra’s talent to diverse settings—from schools to community centers—and illuminating the shared heritage of Kentucky’s communities. The tour, which kicked off in November 2022, has already seen remarkable success hosting 18 free full orchestra performances to over 16,000 attendees. Highlights have included unique collaborations with Kentucky’s own talent, including Grammy Award-winning Michael Cleveland & The Flamekeepers, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, and violinist Tessa Lark showcasing both the rich musical heritage of the Commonwealth and the versatile prowess of the Orchestra.


Not only showcasing the full presentation of orchestral performances, “In Harmony” demonstrates a comprehensive and engaging approach to community partnerships through intimate school engagements, master classes, and ensemble performances at community centers and libraries. The tour highlights a remarkable journey of cultural enrichment and education across 53 unique Kentucky zip codes. With a total of 109 events and 10,000 attendees, the tour emphasized educations engagement through 45 services in school and educational institutions. The innovative “Once Upon an Orchestra” program was a hit, presented 35 times in Kentucky libraries blending music with storytelling. Additionally, 29 public and private performances were held across the state connecting with assisted living communities, veteran centers, and public gathering centers. The Orchestra’s commitment to engaging diverse audiences, educational initiatives, and hosting community events has been widely recognized.


“We are thrilled and immensely grateful to be able to continue to impactful work throughout the Commonwealth,” says Sarah Lempke O’Hare, Louisville Orchestra Director of Community Partnerships. “This funding gives us the opportunity to continue engagement work we have uniquely developed with each community while continuing to provide orchestra concerts that offer a place of joy and healing for Kentuckians.”


Community leaders and audience members have expressed their profound appreciation for the tour’s impact. Gwen Johnson, Director of the Helphill Community Center shared, “Our somewhat forgotten community was encouraged to believe that someone cares enough to bring their talent to us. The concert was a “classical first-even” experience for us in our community.” These testimonials reinforce the significance of the Orchestra’s mission to bring music to diverse audiences.


The Path Ahead: Expanding Horizons


Thanks to the generous support from the Kentucky state legislature, the Louisville Orchestra has received $4.3 million in continued funding secured for 2024–2026. This financial support is crucial in realizing the tour’s objectives and ensuring its continued success.


“With this extraordinary new appropriation from the General Assembly, we can build on what we started and we can expand our reach, our impact and our relationships,” says Graham Parker, Chief Executive of the Louisville Orchestra. “We want to thank the leadership in the General Assembly, specifically President Stivers and Speaker Osbourne, for their unwavering and enthusiastic support for our tours. Without their partnership, none of our dreams would have come true.”


With the continued support of the Kentucky state legislature, the Louisville Orchestra embarks on an ambitious new chapter of the “In Harmony” tour. Under the baton of Teddy Abrams and Resident Conductor Gabriel Lefkowitz, the Louisville Orchestra will introduce in-depth residencies during touring weeks, enhancing community involvement and educational opportunities. These residencies are designed to foster even closer ties with communities, facilitating meaningful interactions and collaborative initiatives. Funding will also allow for the purchase of a mobile stage, breaking down a barrier of access and providing the opportunity to reach even deeper into communities. The tour will continue to showcase local culture and musical heritage with Kentucky-born guest artists and performances scheduled in various regions of Kentucky, to be announced in May.


The focus will be on expanding musical outreach, deepening community connections, and delivering unforgettable experiences. The future tour schedule is thoughtfully crafted to include a mix of new and returning locations, ensuring that the Orchestra’s message of hope, joy, and unity reaches every corner of the Commonwealth. Through these visits, the Orchestra aims to reinforce established connections and forge new ones, celebrating Kentucky’s diverse cultural landscape through music.


Reflecting on the past tours, Music Director Teddy Abrams shared his excitement for the future, stating, “The past two years of touring the Commonwealth of Kentucky have been transformative and affirming for the Louisville Orchestra and for me as an artist. We believe that this work is the core function of a modern cultural institution, and it has become our dream to continue this program far into the future.”


The Louisville Orchestra invites all to be part of this ongoing musical journey. Details on concert dates, community engagement opportunities, and ways to support this vital initiative can be found at LouisvilleOrchestra.org/InHarmonyTour. Join us as we continue to harness the power of music to foster community cohesion, cultural appreciation, and a unified Kentucky.