December 25, 2016
    The courier journal

Elizabeth Kramer , @arts_bureau

For the past several Decembers, pianist Nada Loutfi has presented a concert as part of her Classical Hour series imbued with special meaning.

For last year’s concert, she chose Claude Debussy “Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison,” written in 1915 during German attacks on Paris during World War I. It was a way, she said, “to reflect on the state of the world while celebrating ideas of peace.”

This year, Loutfi is working with a 29-piece orchestra and conductor Earl Gaar, music director and co-founder of Louisville’s Top BrassQuintet, to perform Johannes Brahms’ Concerto No. 1.

In this concerto, which she calls a “deep and meditative piece,” the pianist and orchestra share the music, unlike works where the orchestra’s task is to support the piano music. The concerto, strongly influenced by Beethoven, launches with impassioned orchestral music before the piano comes in to develop the music gently only to evolve into a host of emotional tones.

The music is deep, indeed, for a composer who was 25 when it was written. At the time, Brahms was still processing the death of his mentor and beloved friend, Robert Schumann.

Throughout Loutfi’s career, she has often played Brahms’ work. In June, she released her third album, the 10-track “Nada in Hamburg with Johannes Brahms.” In an earlier concert this year, she performed The Brahms Piano Trio in memory of her mother who was killed in the Lebanese Civil War in 1987. At the time, Loutfi was in Paris rehearsing in the piece for a concert. After her father’s death in 2013, she began studying Brahms more seriously. She also sees playing Brahms as breaking a mold – as the composer’s work is more closely associated with male pianists.

The performance will be broadcast live on WCHQ 100.9 FM and streamed live with video on www.Crescenthillradio.com.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29
WHERE: The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Alumni Chapel, 2825 Lexington Road
COST: Free admission with $30 suggested donation
INFORMATION: 502-896-8480, www.nadaloutfi.com