KSO’s HAPPY FEET Includes Area Premiere on Jan. 21

KSO_Happy FeetHappy Feet
(20th c. Ballet Music)

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra continues its 31st season with a diverse collection of symphonic ballet music, performers and flavors all of the 20th century. Ballet as an art form began in the noble Renaissance courts of 15th c. Italy and soon migrated to France where it moved to the stage with oppulent sets, costumes, music and poetry. Operas included ballet scenes as dance became a real focus of composers of all eras. By the 20th century Russian composers like Stravinsky and Prokofiev were setting the bar for ballet scores. American composers Aaron Copland and William Grant Still, added their American sound and seasoning to dance music, as did Spaniard Manuel de Falla with his fandango and flamenco flair.

The KSO’s “Happy Feet” opens with a suite from Aaron Copland’s first folk ballet score from 1938 — Billy the Kid (Rodeo and Appalachian Spring followed). Copland’s wide-spaced harmony captured the expansive open prarie of the west as did his use of cowboy folk tunes to paint a romanticized soundscape of the life of notorious outlaw William H. Bonney.

William Grant Still studied music in Ohio (Wilberforce and Oberlin) before moving east as part of the Harlem Renaissance. Following the composition of his widely popular Afro American Symphony, Still, in 1931, wrote a ballet on the tribal tale of love and sacrifice titled Sahdji, who was the favorite wife of an East African chieftan. The Young Professionals’ Choral Collective under the direction of Danielle Cozart Steele with Jason Holmes appearing as the Chanter will make their KSO debut with this work.

El Sombrero de tres picos (The Three-cornered Hat) by Manuel de Falla was commissioned in 1917 by Russian ballet impressario Sergei Diaghilev with sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso. Based on the story “The Governor and the Miller’s Wife,” Falla’s ballet music incorporated Spanish folk dancing (fandango, flamenco, jota, etc) with colorful orchestrations inspired by the Spanish flavored works by Ravel and Debussy. Mezzosoprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum joins the KSO for Falla’s complete ballet score.

Join the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, YPPC, Jason Holmes and Quinn Ankrum for “Happy Feet” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 21, at Greaves Concert Hall, on the campus of NKU in Highland Heights, KY. Tickets are $35-$19 with children 50% off. For those who are out of the area or who must stay home, the KSO live streams each concert (with multiple cameras) for your ‘at home access’ for the price of a single “A” ticket. Tickets are available online at www.kyso.org or by phone at (859) 431-6216.

For additional information, visit the KSO at www.kyso.org or call (859) 431-6216.

Happy Feet
(20th c. Ballet Music)
7:30 Saturday, January 21, 2023
Greaves Concert Hall, NKU


Aaron Copland Billy the Kid

  • I. The Open Prairie
  • II. Street in a Frontier Town
  • III. Mexican Dance
  • IV. Card Game at Night
  • V. Gun Battle
  • VI. Celebration After Billy’s Capture
  • VII. Billy’s Death
  • VI. Open Praire (epilogue)

William Grant Still Sahdji (regional premiere)

  • Young Professionals’ Chorale Collective
    Danielle Cozart Steele, director
  • Jason Alexander Holmes, bass


  • Manuel de Falla El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) complete
  • Introduction
  • The Afternoon
  • Dance of the Miller’s Wife: Fandango — El corregidor — La molinera
  • The Grapes
  • Dance of the Neighbors (Seguidillas)
  • Dance of the Miller: Farruca — Escena — La coplas del cuco
  • Dance of the Corregidor
  • Danza Final (Jota)
  • Quinn Patrick Ankrum, mezzo-soprano

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