Category: concert

African American Choral Ensemble: 25 Years


A special concert upcoming:

The University of Georgia African American Choral Ensemble will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reunion concert April 12 at 7 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.


"There is a lot to celebrate at this concert," said Gregory Broughton, the ensemble's director and associate professor of music in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. "Some outstanding leaders and musicians have come out of this group."

UGA students originally founded the African American Choral Ensemble in 1972 as the Pamoja Singers, named after a Swahili word for "together." Two years later, the program spawned the Pamoja Dance Company, a student organization that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Our campus and university has come a long way in terms of building a diverse student body over the last quarter century. There remains a long way to go to open up more opportunities across a broader spectrum of Georgia and American society for people of color, of various religious faiths, of different sexual orientations. But it what we do and who we are as a country, and nowhere is this more telling than our arts traditions, established as well as new. The African American Choral Ensemble is a great tradition at UGA and we are proud to celebrate this wonderful anniversary.

Patel Professorship: Zakir Hussain


Zakir-Hussain- tablaThe 2014 Gordhan L. and Virginia B. "Jinx" Patel Distinguished Visiting Professor in Indian Musical Arts in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music brings what may be the world's best tabla player to campus on April 2:

2nd Thursday to feature UGA Symphony Orchestra


UGASO on stageBecause of spring break, the March 2nd Thursday Concert in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music will be performed on March 6 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center. The concert, featuring the UGA Symphony Orchestra performing Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major, is not to be missed:

Trained as an organist, Bruckner’s works are noted for their powerful and grand style, using the full scope of the orchestra to evoke the sound of his primary instrument. Thursday’s performance marks the first time the UGASO and conductor Mark Cedel have performed one of Bruckner’s symphonies at UGA. To commemorate the occasion, musicology Professor David Haas will present a special pre-concert lecture on the composer and his seventh symphony at 7:15 in the Performing Arts Center.

The concert will also feature Joseph Haydn’s Oboe Concerto in C major with UGA oboe professor Reid Messich.

Reid Messich joined the Hodgson School faculty in 2010, and holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Florida State University. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Japan, often under the direction of such conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Otto-Werner Mueller, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, and Mstislav Rostropovich. He is a current member of the Georgia Woodwind Quintet.

Proceeds from these concert support scholarships in the Hodgson School. Get your tickets here and come out and enjoy some great music.

Image: The UGA Symphony Orchestra from 2011 - old photo but with some of our very favorite student musicians.

The role Classical Music will play in America's future


So this is really what blogs are for - to publicly follow up on a story, a note, an idea, an event. To add context. Here's some.

Related to the prior post on the piano recitals next week in Hodgson School of Music, I saw this interview with Richard Zimdars in Fanfare Magazine from February 2012, on the occasion of the release of his new recording. Let's pick it up wih the final question, in which Dr. Z brings the light:

Q: I am very concerned about the role that classical music will play in America’s future, what with the dwindling of music classes in public schools, and the evident aging of audiences at classical music events. As someone who has enjoyed direct contact with young people for many years, what is your perspective on the future of this art form? What kinds of changes have you witnessed over the years?

A: I share your concern with developing a future audience for classical music in America. Growing up attending the Chicago Symphony’s 10-concert season in Milwaukee was my prime formative classical-music experience, along with my piano and horn lessons. Attendance at those concerts was by no means restricted to the upper classes or elderly in those days, although much German was spoken among the older crowd during intermissions. A Central European ambience was surely in evidence. At home, the music played on our record player was the standard repertoire from Bach to Debussy. This music, and also the sounds of singers like Björling, Milanov, Warren, Albanese, Flagstad, Lotte Lehmann, John Charles Thomas, and Risë Stevens were—fortunately!— the sounds locked into my brain at an early age. Musical memories are involuntary and reflexive. My tastes were formed early by my parents’ choices in recorded music: rock and roll was excluded, but not jazz or American musicals. Alvin and the Chipmunks crept in, too!

The distributors of broadcast and mechanically reproduced music exert tremendous power to form taste, their goal being financial profit. The huge economic organization of music distributors is predatory in the extreme. The vast majority of the distributed product is utterly unimaginative, fostering a worldwide appetite for generic styles directed toward the youth market. This product, marketed to appeal to the concerns of its audience, actually suppresses expression while sending a dumbed-down message of identity to listeners and potential purchasers. The infliction of this narrow musical choice on the public is masked by its seemingly limitless sources of distribution.

How to break the cycle? It cannot be broken, but now and again people do escape from its orbit. I’ve seen this happen often during my academic career. Recently I taught a one-day-a-week one-credit class to about a dozen freshmen at the University of Georgia who were not music majors. I had graduate piano students play Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt for the class. They were entranced by the skills of the young pianists, and peppered them with questions. After one class, a student I’ll call Elberta told me that despite the value that her metropolitan area high school placed on her athletic skills, she had longed to participate in music as well. Shortly thereafter my class was assigned to attend a University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra concert, and I saw Elberta with an athlete friend at intermission. Our orchestra is capable of performing works like the Mahler Fifth and Sixth symphonies, and since Elberta and friend had never been to a live symphony concert, they could not believe how good their fellow university students sounded. They asked, with innocent sincerity, what the purpose of the conductor in front of the orchestra was. This was enough to get us talking for the whole intermission, after which they enthusiastically returned to their seats!

It is never too late for people to expand their interests, and I think live concerts are the best way to do it. The earlier children are exposed to live music of quality, the better. Opportunities to sing or learn an instrument should be available in every U.S. school system, public or private. 

Gladly. There's more at the link

Piano recitals on Wednesday the 8th


anatoly flyerAnd just like that... 2014. Welcome to this year to us all and starting things off just right is the Hugh Hodgson School of Music with two piano recitals on one day, January the 8th, featuring some of the very best:

At 5 pm, the Richard Zimdars studio recital will take place in Edge Hall. As much as we wish this was a recital by the great performer and teacher (and Despy Karlas Professor of Piano), this free recital will give Zimdars' students a chance to shine. 

And at 8 pm, enjoy the music of Strauss and others as performed by the wonderfully talented Anatoly Sheludyakov. Staff accompanyist in the Hodgson School, Sheludyakov has performed much of the greatest music ever written, at venues across the world. We're lucky to have him at UGA. Come out and enjoy some extraordinarily high-quality live music. ($10/$5 students).

The Nutcracker



detail_nutcracker.jpegFrom Russia to Athens: A Holiday Tradition

By Jessica Luton

The semester is over on the UGA campus. But as we enter the holiday season, the Performing Arts Center continues its important work sharing culture with campus and the community. 

The holiday ballet classic, “The Nutcracker,” comes to the Classic Center Dec. 21-22 thanks to the State Ballet Theatre of Russia.  With choreography still used today by Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Ballet, the company will present this holiday favorite for the Athens-area community.

The production, which includes the familiar holiday music of Tchaikovsky, beautiful sets and costumes and the tale of a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice, is a production for children and the young at heart alike. The production is the perfect activity to share with visiting family or friends, or just to get into the holiday spirit.

You can purchase tickets online for one of the three upcoming shows.  And be sure to view the video preview of this outstanding ballet presentation of the holiday favorite.

Hodgson School of Music Holiday Concert Dec. 3


Hodgson-holiday-concerts_0.jpgThe annual holiday tradition that is the Hugh Hodgson School of Music Holiday Concert continues to grow as the event moves to the Classic Center this Dec. 3:

The concert brings together nearly 300 student singers and instrumentalists from the UGA Symphony Orchestra, Bulldog Brass Society and choral ensembles. Led by Hugh Hodgson School of Music professors Daniel Bara and Mark Cedel, the performance will feature a variety of seasonal selections.

"Given the size and popularity of this event, we felt it would be appropriate to bring the Holiday Concert to a larger venue in the heart of downtown Athens," said Dale Monson, director of the Hodgson School. "The uplifting and joyful music of this special time of year inspires the goodwill felt throughout the community each season."

Tickets for the program, part of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music's Second Thursday Scholarship Concert Series, are $25 for the general public and $5 for students. For tickets, call 706-542-4400 or see

There is nothing quite like hundreds of student voices (and instruments) celebrating the holiday classics in song. Bara and Cedel do a masterful job guiding these large ensembles through a very entertaining program that is at once uplifting and accessible. A fun way to begin the holiday season. Get your tickets, proceeds from which support the 2nd Thursday Scholarship program, today.

UGA Symphony Orchestra to open 2nd Thursday season Sept.12


Cedel_SO.jpgThe Second Thursday Scholarship Series is one of the great traditions at the university and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, and the series is set to begin anew on Thursday Sept. 12:

The series' opening concert will feature the UGA Symphony Orchestra Sept. 12 in a performance with bass-baritone Brandon Cedel, a winner of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

The September symphony concert is one of the signal events of the new academic year and a great opener for the season to come, which includes the Holiday concert (held at the Classic center this year in Dec. 3) and in October the UGA Wind Ensemble concert will include a march by Rossini. Season tickets are very affordable and a great cultural experience each month - a terrific way to hear wonderful live music and support our students at the same time. To secure your tickets, call the PAC box office at 706-542-4400.

UGA Symphony Orchestra conductor Mark Cedel with the orchestra in 2009.

African American Choral Ensemble concert Sunday



From its rich beginnings in the early 70's as the Pamoja Singers, the University of Georgia African American Choral Ensemble (AACE) has endeavored to keep concert halls and churches filled with the powerful sounds and wealth of indigenous musical treasures birthed from the African American experience. Since its earliest days at UGA, AACE has been a beacon tower of fellowship for the university community. Herein, people of many cultures come to share and learn the messages of hope, love and liberation that have sustained a people and this nation.

This Sunday April 28 the AACE, under the direction of associate professor Gregory Broughton, presents a free concert at 3 p.m. at the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

Image courtesy of the UGA Choral Association.

Bela Fleck with UGA Symphony Orchestra


Béla Fleck and the Flecktones are legendary performers with a serious worldwide following. Next week he will perform with our own UGA Symphony Orchestra in what I can only term as an extraordinary concert:

Béla Fleck, the world's premier banjo player, for his second Hodgson Hall appearance this season when he returns to perform his new Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on March 26 at 8 p.m. with Mark Cedel conducting. The program also will include Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" and Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.


Fleck premiered his Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with the Nashville Symphony in September 2011. The composer dedicated the concerto to the late Earl Scruggs and has described the piece as "a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well."


Since the 2011 premiere, Fleck has performed his new concerto with symphony orchestras around the country, but the Athens concert will be the first time Fleck has performed the piece with a university orchestra.

Nancy Riley, a graduate teaching assistant in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, will give a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

With tickets at $25 (students' discouted), this will sell out in no time. In the greater context of dwindling audiences for classical music, this is the kind of innovative programming - without offering the 'pops' repertoire that is so common - we should and can applaud. Plus, it will be a wonderful opportunity for our student musicians.