JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Saturday night was the last performance in the Britt Festival Orchestra’s 61st season.
This final show didn’t just feature world-class music, it also served as a farewell to the orchestra’s music director Teddy Abrams.
“It is quite emotional. It’s hard to say goodbye in this context but I’m really glad we’re going out on a celebration,” said Abrams.
Abrams along with being the music director of the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, has been spending part of each summer in Jacksonville to direct the Britt Orchestra for the past ten years.
“It’s a bittersweet night, he is just ready to move on to his next chapter and we’re of course so excited for him and so grateful for everything he has done for Britt,” said Britt CEO, Abby McKee.
Abrams has helped to bring ambitious acts and performers to Britt, like their outdoor performance at Crater Lake.
Abrams opened his final performance for Britt fans with the overture to his next project, a musical about Muhammad Ali, now destined for Broadway.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, especially for somebody like me, I didn’t grow up with the singular notion of being a Broadway composer I’ve just been very fortunate to have this opportunity and I want to do right by it,” said Abrams.
Abrams is stepping outside of his orchestral wheelhouse to compose the first-ever theatrical work about Ali.
Abrams said his work at Britt has helped him build connections with world-renowned musicians, like the internationally known cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
“One of the great moments of my life was working with him. To listen to Yo-Yo Ma just by himself before the orchestra arrived, playing a melody that you wrote, I mean that’s the pinnacle,” said Abrams.
The two performed together in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, after Yo-Yo Ma saw Britt’s performance at Crater Lake.
“I’m very excited about Britt’s future because I know so many people love it and care about it, and I think the opportunities for Britt to continue to be incredibly successful are right in front of them and I will just miss being with everybody every summer,” said Abrams.
McKee said Abrams helped put Britt on the map, and that he will be missed. If you want to catch a concert on the hill this summer, you can visit Britt’s website here.
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