Davidson College's music department has made big changes to the annual Concert Series and its organizers hope it will sound different than ever before.
According to Alan Black, artist associate in cello and chamber music and artistic director of the Concert Series, the new lineup features more unique programming than in past years.
"The genesis for changing the focus of the Concert Series to try and engage the students more by bringing a more eclectic and diverse sense of programming," he said. "The music department feels that we should represent as much of the cultural diversity on campus as possible, and the Concert Series is one of the most visible ways for us to do that."
In the past, the series' line up included plenty of traditional chamber music, but this year will feature such acts as an old time music group called David Holt and the Lightning Bolts, a jazz saxophone quartet named Carolina Sax and Barbecue, and flutist Tadeu Coelho with pianist David Gilliland. Included in the series will be a March performance by the Davidson Trio, featuring Black on cello, Artist Associate Joseph Meyer on violin and international pianist Dana Protopopescu. The trio will perform Mozart's Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Enescu's Serenade lointaine and Tchaikovsky's challenging Piano Trio in A Minor.
Chamber music will still have a place in the programming, including a competition with WDAV in May. The Young Chamber Musicians Competition is for ages 14-24, and aspiring ensembles are invited to play for a chance to win their share of $10,000 in cash prizes.
"We're definitely trying to provide programming that challenges students by not only exposing them to high quality music from professional musicians, but also embraces the college's vision of excellence without and across barriers," said Amanda Preston, director of music production and promotion. "Music doesn't need to be from the Western tradition to provide incredibly valuable experiences for the Davidson community," she added.
The musical acts were chosen carefully, said Black. The folk duo Barnaby Bright appeared on campus this fall after Black saw them perform at the Evening Muse in Charlotte last year. He was so impressed he asked them to come to Davidson.
Their music was amazing and they were also such great people. After the show I spoke with lead singer Becky Bliss and came to find out that they use a ton of cello in their music, even though that night there was no cello. So that got me thinking, and I decided to invite them for the Concert Series-partly so that I could play with them," said Black.
Students picked up more than 60 tickets to the Barnaby Bright show, said Preston, adding that the performance was one of this season's highlights.
Preston added that this season's programming choices were made to provide students and the community a chance to see a wide variety of top musicians.
"We want the season to be accessible and rewarding for our audiences," said Preston.
Tickets for the Concert Series can be purchased online.