UK Alum Performs Lost Appalachian Melodies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Hope Koehler will present a recital of little known music by legendary composer and balladeer, John Jacob Niles, and other work from her latest CD at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, at the Niles Gallery in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. Koehler, a UK alumna and preeminent interpreter of Niles' work, will perform various pieces from her recently released CD, "Lost Melodies." This event is free and open to the public.

"Lost Melodies" features a selection of pieces by Niles, most of which have neither been published nor recorded until now. Koehler will perform a selection of these works and Robert Schumann's "Frauenliebe und Leben," as well as songs by Fernando Obradors, Xavier Montsalvatge and Duke Ellington for the recital. She will be accompanied by James Douglass on the piano. This concert is made possible with support from an endowment, "Our American Music," a gift of Thomas M. T. Niles.

To hear Koehler perform "Go 'Way from my Window" by Niles, play the video below. 

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A transcript of this video can be seen here

A soprano, Koehler has appeared worldwide in recitals, concerts, operas and productions. Some of these productions include "Carmen," "Rigoletto," "The Impressario," "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "West Side Story." She is also a featured soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, led by UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey.

"Koehler an ideal interpreter, whose dusky timbre and voluptuous tone imbue every note with a mixture of sadness, beauty and hopeful longing," attested Opera News in a review of "Lost Melodies." "This repertoire fits her plush, rich-hued voice like a glove and she encompasses the wide vocal and emotional range of the songs with apparent ease."

John Jacob Niles was an influential voice in the American folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. He also was an eminent collector of Appalachian ballads and African-American spirituals. The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music is named after the celebrated Kentucky composer and displays many traditional instruments he crafted. The center is a collaborative effort of UK School of Music and UK Libraries. The center is located at the Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

Koehler's recital of "Lost Melodies" is presented by the Niles Center at the UK School of Music. The School of Music, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.