"It's an easier job when you're playing for friends," George Zack told the audience in the Singletary Center for the Arts before conducting his final piece with the orchestra. "It's an easier job when you're performing with friends."
It is not often a conductor steps down from the podium after 37 years on the job conducting the same orchestra in the same town. Zack's grand finale turned out to be a warm evening -- not just due the humid weather that's invaded Lexington -- with a few unusual moments.
- After the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Zack and soloist Aaron Rosand received a standing ovation. Applause between movements is getting to be more common, but the standing O seemed to be a reflection of the evening's high emotions.
- Before going onstage for the second half, Zack noticed Rosand's chair was still onstage. He told orchestra manager Shannon Cline it needed to be removed, but little did he know it was there for him. Zack was treated to a performance of Aaron Copland's Celebration Fanfare, conducted by Philharmonic violist Paul Englebrecht. After that, he was presented with the score, signed by Copland in 1977.
- After the first movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 1, Zack momentarily left the stage. Overcome with emotion? Not quite. He left his glasses in his dressing room.
- At the end of the second movement, he and everyone in the hall stopped because of musical tones that were filtering into the hall. No one could identify the source, but Cline said they guessed it might be related to a resynchronization of clocks on the University of Kentucky campus at 9 p.m.
Zack was honored with a party after the concert in a tent next to the Singletary Center.The tables were adorned with figures in tails and music was provided by Jay Flippin, a frequent collaborator with the Phil. Our Howard Snyder went to the party and will have a report next week. Also, a photographer from our photo website, Snapped, was there.
Speaking of photos, here are the rest of Matt Goins' images from last night's concert.
Zack gets a hug from orchestra manger Shannon Cline as she presents him with roses.
Zack presents concertmaster Dan Mason a rose.
Finally, don't forget to read Loren Tice's review of the concert.