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    Cello soloist Nick Finch plans to add an element of theatricality to Don Quixote when the Louisville Orchestra presents the Richard Strauss tone poem Nov. 22 & 23 in Whitney Hall at the Kentucky Center. “I have to make sure the music is in tune and in rhythm, and it’s all very complex — for the orchestra, too,” says Finch, the symphony’s principal cellist. “But then I have to live the life of Don Quixote, a man who has read too many stories about noble knights and thinks he is going out on a quest. Imagining windmills and sheep as deadly enemies that only a gallant knight like him can defeat.

    “You have to think like an actor a little bit,” Finch says. “Most of the time we play what you might call ‘absolute music,’ in which there’s no definitive narrative, no definitive story. And music has a unique power to communicate abstract emotional experiences. But this one has a story to tell.”

    Which should be right up his alley. He says he’s related to the late Stella Adler, who founded one the famous schools of acting pedagogy in the United States, with students such as Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. He was only vaguely aware of all that history as a kid growing up in Boston, though there was always acting at home. “My father would do impressions at the dinner table,” Finch says. “He’d give us assignments, then correct us, saying this is an Irish accent or an Indian accent.”

    But for a Spanish novel told in German music?

    Listen for a Nick Finch accent.

    This originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Symphonic Theater.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Adam Mescan,

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