Teddy Abrams
Louisville Orchestra

The Louisville Orchestra has appointed Teddy Abrams as Music Director Designate.  The announcement was made today by the new Executive Director Andrew Kipe and Jim Welch, President of the board of directors.

Teddy Abrams is the Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Classical Festival, the Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony and the Resident Conductor of the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest. He states, “I am extremely excited to accept the position of Music Director Designate. I knew from the first time I came to Louisville last season that this position had tremendous potential.  I felt an immediate and powerful, positive connection with this city, and that initial chemistry grew as I began working with the Orchestra’s wonderful musicians. These exceptionally talented players have an intense desire and commitment to both the highest level of music-making and to building deep ties with the Louisville community.  The organization has such extraordinary potential not only because of its rich history, but also because Louisville clearly cherishes its arts and is demonstrative in its support for its great institutions.  That’s such an important element when working with a symphony orchestra. I am honored and very eager to be a partner to help shape and lead the Louisville Orchestra into the next generation.”

Abrams’ role as Music Director Designate will include programming, auditions for auxiliaries and the unfilled positions within the Orchestra, and a great deal of donor cultivation and fundraising.  Most importantly he will work with the Board of Directors, the musicians, Andrew Kipe and the staff to create and implement a new strategic plan for the future of the Louisville Orchestra.

“We are extremely lucky to have gotten Teddy at this juncture in his career,” says Kipe. “He is on a meteoric trajectory that will only be an asset to Louisville.  I believe with his artistic dynamism together we will, once again, make the Louisville Orchestra an essential asset to the Louisville community!”

Abrams’ three year contract begins September 2014 when he will become the Louisville Orchestra’s eighth and youngest (26) Music Director at which point Jorge Mester will become Music Director Emeritus.

Jim Welch said, “Jorge Mester succeeded the great Robert Whiney in 1967 providing a decade of superb musical leadership and then returned to us in a time of need.  He carried us through a most difficult period in the organization’s history.  For that we are all eternally grateful.  His second tenure with the Louisville Orchestra has been filled with wonderful leadership and amazing music.  He will continue with us through his contract and we look forward to honoring his legacy.” 

The Music Director Search Committee was comprised of musicians, board members, staff and consultants.  They were Andrew Fleishman (chair), Christopher Doane, Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Venu Vemuri, Heidi Tracy, Melinda Odle, Michael Davis, Jon Gustely, Jim Recktenwald, Kim Tichenor, Peter Pastreich, David Hyslop and Lindsay Vallandingham.  They started their search in November 2012.

Andrew Fleishman was the chair of the Search Committee says, “This is a very important step for Louisville Orchestra.  The members of the Music Director Search committee were thrilled to recommend Teddy as our consensus choice to lead the Louisville Orchestra.  He is young, engaging and dynamic, and has the potential to greatly enhance the way the Louisville Orchestra is perceived in the community.  He has a superb knack for inspiring passion in others for music and will change the tone of the discussion about classical music.”

An unusually versatile musician, Teddy Abrams is a widely acclaimed conductor, as well as an established pianist, clarinetist, and composer. Recently appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Classical Festival, 2014 marks his first season in that role. He is also assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony, where he programs and conducts a wide variety of concerts, and makes his subscription debut in the 2013/14 season. Additionally, he has served as Resident Conductor of the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest since the 2011/12 season. 

Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin praises Teddy saying, “During his two years with us in Detroit, Teddy proved himself not only a very talented Conductor but a person committed to the community.  His ability to communicate with audiences and the orchestra were remarkable and these abilities will serve him very well in Louisville. All of us here believe that the combination of Teddy and the Louisville Orchestra will be a potent force in the musical world.”

Kim Tichenor, chair of the Louisville Orchestra Musician’s Committee said, "The musicians of the Louisville Orchestra are looking forward with tremendous enthusiasm to working with our new Music Director, Teddy Abrams.  He brings enormous talent and a fresh creative perspective to our entire organization.  We are eager to make great music and be a part of bringing the Louisville Orchestra to new heights for our community."

“All of the pieces are in place” says Board president Jim Welch.  “With Andrew at the helm and Teddy on the podium, the Louisville Orchestra is poised for an exciting resurgence.  The Board of Directors is especially grateful to the leadership and direction of Interim CEO, David Hyslop who has guided us over the last six months and helped us in finding these two dynamic individuals who will lead our Orchestra into the future.”

In celebration of this announcement, The Louisville Orchestra will have $20 tickets for Teddy Abrams’ performance on March 1.  Call 502.584.7777 or visit and use the promo code “TEDDY”