Category Archives: Music

Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival kicks off 19th season

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will kick off its 19th season on Sept. 27-28 at A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall on the campus of East Carolina University.

Grammy Award-winning violist Kim Kashkashian will join Ida Kavafian, Hye-Jin Kim, Marcy Rosen, Peter Wiley and festival artistic director Ara Gregorian to perform Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings (arranged for string sextet), Johannes Brahms’ String Sextet No. 2 in G Major Op. 36 and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70.

Ara Gregorian, artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and professor of music at ECU .

Ara Gregorian, artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and professor of music at ECU (Contributed photo)

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival is in residence at the ECU School of Music and will present a full concert season in Greenville and Raleigh, as well as concerts and initiatives in Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte and Southern Shores.

Artists for the Sept. 27-28 season opening will be: Kashkashian, who won the 2013 Grammy Award for best classical instrumental solo and was awarded the George Peabody Medal for outstanding contributions to music in America; Wiley, who has been a cellist for the Guarneri Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio; violinist Kavafian, an artist of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center and former member of the Beaux Arts Trio; cellist Rosen, a former member of the Mendelsohn String Quartet; violinist Hye-Jin Kim, who won first prize at the Yehudi Menuhin and Concert Artist Guild international competitions; and violinist/violist Gregorian, a former member of Concertante and the Daedalus String Quartet, and a current member of the Cooperstown Quartet.

“The Season Opening Extravaganza brings a star-studded lineup of artists to Greenville,” Gregorian said. “Our guest artists will thrill the audience and I can think of no better program to kick off our 19th season.”

There are seven concerts in the Greenville concert season, which includes four Classic Series concerts, two Chamber Music Dressed Down concerts and one Four Seasons Features concert. Additional Four Seasons initiatives include Winter Workshop 2019, six Next Generation concerts, Children’s Residency XII and Family Night.


For season and individual ticket information, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788, or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

For more information about the festival, go to or call 252-328-6019.

Greenville Concert Season

Season Opening Extravaganza: Sept. 27, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28, 8 p.m.; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

The Miraculous Bartok: Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.; The Cupola Building

From the Homeland: Nov. 8, 7 p.m.; Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Chamber Music Monuments: Feb. 7, 7 p.m.; Feb. 8, 8 p.m. A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Brahms the Mentor: Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Location TBA

Four Seasons Features: Bach and the Violin: March 15, 7:30 p.m.; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Thrilling Season Finale: March 28, 7 p.m.; March 29, 8 p.m.; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Additional Greenville Four Seasons Concerts

Next Generation: Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., free; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop Concert I: Jan. 4, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop Concert II: Jan.  5, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop Concert III: Jan.  6, 3 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Next Generation: March 16, 7:30 p.m., free; Wright Auditorium

Next Generation: March 17, 3 p.m., free; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Family Night: April 12, 7 p.m., free; TBA

Spring Celebration: May 12, 4 p.m. TBA

Summer Chamber Music Institute Concert I: June 9, 7 p.m., free; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Summer Chamber Music Institute Concert II: June 14, 7 p.m., free; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Summer Chamber Music Institute Participant Marathon Concert: June 15, 1 p.m.; free; A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall


Contact: John Holloway,, 252-328-6019

ECU summer festivals for piano and guitar bring international artists to Greenville for public performances

The inaugural East Carolina Piano Festival and the long-standing ECU Summer International Guitar Festival will bring acclaimed international performers to Greenville for public concerts in June and July.

The East Carolina Piano Festival begins June 23. This is the first year of the piano festival. The ECU Summer International Guitar Festival begins June 30. This is the guitar festival’s 23rd year.

Peter Frankl (Contributed photo)

Peter Frankl (Contributed photo)

The piano festival welcomes legendary Hungarian pianist Peter Frankl to join ECU faculty artists in performance of works by Schubert, Debussy, Schumann and Brahms on June 26. Andrew Tyson, winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and numerous international piano competitions, will perform works by Couperin, Chopin, Ravel and Berg on June 24. Multiple additional concerts during the festival feature festival faculty, guests and participants. Contact 252-328-5184 for more information.

Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, described by NPR as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” headlines the guitar festival. Additional concerts feature French virtuoso Judicaël Perroy, Canadian Jeffrey McFadden, American guitarist Andrew Zohn, 2004 ECU solo guitar competition first prize winner Isaac Bustos, 2018 solo competition winner Samuel Hines, Mary Akerman and guitar festival director Elliot Frank. Contact 252-328-6245 for more information.

All concerts are at East Carolina University School of Music, A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.

Piano festival guest artist and faculty concerts are ticketed. All guitar festival concerts are ticketed. For ticket information, visit or call 252-328-4788.


East Carolina Piano FestivalFestival Opening Concert Saturday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.  Featuring guest and faculty artists Benjamin Hochman, Yukiko Sekino, Keiko Sekino, Kwan Yi and John O’Brien. Works for piano solo, four-hands, six-hands, and two pianos eight-hands by Mozart, Bizet, Ravel, Scriabin and others. (Ticketed)  Piano recital by Andrew Tyson Sunday, June 24, 3 p.m.  Works by Couperin, Chopin, Ravel and Berg. (Ticketed)  An Evening of Chamber Music: Pianist Peter Frankl and Friends Tuesday, June 26, 7:30 p.m.  Pianist Peter Frankl joined by ECU faculty artists Ara Gregorian and Hye-Jin Kim, violin, and Keiko Sekino and Kwan Yi, piano. Works by Schubert, Debussy, Schumann and Brahms. (Ticketed)  Young Artist Program Final Concert I Thursday, June 28, 9 a.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)  Young Artist Program Final Concert II Thursday, June 28, 3 p.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)  Young Artist Program Final Concert III Thursday, June 28, 5 p.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)


ECU Summer International Guitar Festival

Samuel Hines Saturday, June 30, 4 p.m.  Elliot Frank/Judicael Perroy Saturday, June 30, 7:30 p.m.  Mary Akerman Sunday, July 1, 4 p.m.  Andrew Zohn/Jason Vieaux Sunday, July 1, 7:30 p.m.  Solo Competition Semifinals Monday, July 2, 4 p.m.  Isaac Bustos/Jeffrey McFadden Monday, July 2, 7:30 p.m.  Youth and College Competition Finals/Awards Tuesday, July 3, 4 p.m.


-For ticket information, visit or call 252-328-4788.

ECU cellist Levine wins MTNA 2017 NC prize

East Carolina University sophomore cellist Scott Alex Levine won first place in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist North Carolina strings competition on October 28 in Raleigh, NC. He advances to the MTNA Southern Division competition in Lynchburg, VA, on Jan. 12-15.

The MTNA National Student Competitions are the most successful and prestigious student competitions in the country. Each year, thousands of students compete for top prizes and national recognition.

Levine is a student of Emanuel Gruber.

ECU performing arts series to help celebrate N.C. Arts Council’s 50th anniversary

East Carolina University’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series is one of 170 organizations across North Carolina to participate in a statewide arts celebration of the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Arts and cultural organizations in all 100 North Carolina counties will celebrate the anniversary in October with music, dance, exhibitions and fall festivals.

ECU’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series has dedicated the upcoming performance of the Vienna Boys Choir to the statewide celebration.

The Vienna Boys Choir. (contributed photo)

The Vienna Boys Choir. (contributed photo)

The Vienna Boys Choir will perform on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in ECU’s Wright Auditorium. The 500-year-old choir is world renowned for its quality performances. At ECU, they’ll perform a program titled “Bella Italia,” featuring works by Italian composers Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Mascagni, along with popular favorites such as “Santa Lucia,” “O sole bio,” “Volare” and more.

“The Alexander series has enjoyed the longtime support of the North Carolina Arts Council, and we are pleased to join in their anniversary celebration,” said Michael Crane, producing artistic director of the series. “We are proud of the impact the N.C. Arts Council has had across the state and in our own community.”

Tickets to the Vienna Boys Choir are available at $45, $35, $25 and $10, online at or by calling 252-328-4788. Parking is $5 per car in advance.

About 200 arts and cultural events are slated now through late November across the state in recognition of the anniversary of the N.C. Arts Council.

“The ideal that founded the North Carolina Arts Council in 1967 was “arts for all citizens,” said Wayne Martin, executive director, North Carolina Arts Council. “Since that time, we’ve worked to create an expansive network of nonprofit arts organizations so that citizens can participate in the arts and artists can contribute to our state’s growth and development.”

The concentration of events will occur during October to coincide with Arts and Humanities Month, a celebration of arts and humanities across the U.S.

“The celebration in October is a tribute to our collective achievements the last 50 years,” Martin said.

Events are listed on a comprehensive calendar at Information on ECU’s Alexander series can also be found at

Follow the N.C. Arts Council’s 50th anniversary celebration at #NCArts50 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Contact: Michael Crane, 252-328-5386

ECU music education major selected for national achievement award

East Carolina University senior music education major Lauren Lewis has been selected as one of this year’s recipients of the Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. These recognitions are given to college members who have served their NAfME collegiate chapter in an exemplary manner with dedication to NAfME and music education.

Each year two graduating music education students are selected from a national pool for the Kane Scholarship. Lewis is ECU NAfME chapter president.

ECU music education student Lauren Lewis (center) accepts the 2017 Kane Scholarship and Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. Pictured with NC Music Educators Association officers. (contributed photo)

ECU music education student Lauren Lewis (center) accepts the 2017 Kane Scholarship and Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. Pictured with NC Music Educators Association officers. (contributed photo)

In addition, Lewis and fellow ECU music education major Jordan Harris were among 97 college students and more than 200 professional music educators who participated in the NAfME Hill Day Collegiate Advocacy Summit event beginning June 29 in Washington, DC, where Lewis accepted the Kane Scholarship and the professional achievement award. Annually the single largest gathering of music education advocates on Capitol Hill, NAfME Hill Day is imperative to ensuring the continued preservation of school-based music programs across America.

“It was such an honor to be awarded the Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship at this year’s Hill Day Advocacy Summit—Mrs. Kane was such a wonderful inspiration to music educators and to be given an award in her memory was very touching,” Lewis said. “I am so thankful for all of the support given at East Carolina University that allowed me to participate in such an amazing organization such as NAfME and attend Hill Day 2017.”

The Collegiate Advocacy Summit informs prospective young music educators about the most pressing music education policy issues of our time and helps them to engage with music education advocacy.  Hill Day music advocates conduct more than 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs each year during the three-day event.

“Hill Day was such a wonderful opportunity for professional development, meeting new people and advocating for music education,” Lewis said. “The sense of community and support gave me the confidence and inspiration to continue working in my own local chapter and advocating in my own state.

“The opportunity to meet future colleagues from across the country, learn from wonderful educators and make a difference in legislature concerning music education was an amazing experience that has made me more excited than ever to become a music educator.”



-by Harley Dartt, University Communications

Alum Marshall awarded Yale graduate Presser award

Florrie Marshall, East Carolina University alum (BM, Performance, ’15; Certificate of Advanced Performance Study, viola performance, ’16) and Yale University first-year graduate student in viola performance, has been awarded the Yale Presser Foundation Graduate Award.

Left to right: Yale professor Melvin Chen, Marshall, Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker. (contributed photo)

Left to right: Yale professor Melvin Chen, Marshall, Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker. (contributed photo)

The $10,000 Presser Foundation Award is awarded to an outstanding returning Yale student to advance his or her music education. The Graduate Award at the Presser Foundation is only given to one student at each of 12 exclusively invited schools of music.

To read more about Florrie Marshall’s time as a student at ECU click here.



-by Harley Dartt, University Communication

School of Music alumnus wins another Grammy

School of Music alumnus Chris Bullock (BM Performance, Jazz Studies, 2003) won his third Grammy with the multi-genre band Snarky Puppy on February 12, 2017.

This year’s win was for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, which the band also won in 2016. They won for Best R&B Performance in 2014. A multi-instrumentalist, Bullock performs on saxophone, clarinet, flutes and synths, and has interests in hip-hop and electronic music including deejaying, beat making and production.

ECU Music Library responds to patrons’ needs

East Carolina University’s Music Library, a department of Joyner Library located on the first floor of the A.J. Fletcher Music Center, offers newly renovated spaces and resources based on the changing needs of its patrons.

First established in 1974, the library contains the largest music collection east of Raleigh. It now serves the needs of music lovers, performers and educators from all parts of eastern North Carolina while continuing its primary focus on the needs of ECU students, faculty and staff, particularly the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance.

(starting with the closest) Freshmen, TayAndra Allen, Paige Yanik, and Jacob Abolos work together in close proximity to new electrical outlets for easy charging. (Photo by Kelly Rogers Dilda)

Freshmen TayAndra Allen, Paige Yanik and Jacob Abolos work together near the new electrical outlets for easy charging. (Photos by Kelly Rogers Dilda)

Music Library collections include music scores, books, journals, microforms and computer software dealing with every musical style and genre from classical to rock to reggae. The library provides both Mac and PC computers, a quiet study room, a group listening/viewing/study room, audio and video dubbing service, and music reference assistance. It also houses Joyner Library’s entire recording collection as well as the music-related portion of its video recording collection.

More than 100,000 items, many of which have come from in-kind donations, are offered to an average of 70,000 patrons who visit the library each year.

The need for renovating the space and its resources was first discovered after ECU anthropology professor Dr. Christine Avenarius and David Hursh, head music librarian, conducted an ethnographic study to determine how patrons were using the space. “Ethnographic studies are time-intensive, but the accuracy of the results is worth the extra effort,” said Hursh. “People often say they do one thing, but do another. Observing people’s actions is the best way to determine what is really happening,”

Study results determined that the design of the library space was exactly the opposite of what worked best for its users. Outcomes revealed ECU music students overwhelmingly preferred to study individually rather than collaboratively. Before the remodel, students spent long periods of study time in six cramped study carrels located near the busiest and loudest part of the library, the circulation desk. Students also spent shorter periods of time in the Technology Lab, the quietest part of the library.

The two spaces were switched, with the lab now serving as a quiet study room. This space now offers 12 study carrels custom-designed to meet the needs of music students who often use oversized materials or multiple print materials simultaneously. Computers at standing stations just inside the library’s doors allow patrons to quickly check email and print assignments between classes without bothering those who are doing long-term study.

Results also showed that patrons like to multi-task with electronic equipment. Because previous arrangements offered little access to electrical outlets all new furniture purchases included units with power.

Sophomore, Sophia Odiorne, studies in the new quiet study room. (Photo by Kelly Rogers Dilda)

Sophomore Sophia Odiorne studies in the new quiet study room.

The remodel also brought the addition of a new group listening/viewing/study room, a staple in most other music libraries that was previously missing from this one. The addition of this room has been a goal of Hursh’s ever since he came to ECU nearly 20 years ago. This room allows students to study for music history listening tests and other exam and class preparation together, sharing style characteristics that distinguish one piece from another while they listen. It also offers the complete range of audiovisual (AV) playback equipment, a large monitor for group viewing, two whiteboards (one with music staves), seating and portable work surfaces for eight.

Faculty needs were also considered since they sometimes need space for small seminar classes and tutoring activities. Available to anyone by reservation, this room may encourage more collaboration in the library.

“I am pleased to see these contrasting study spaces are already being heavily used by the students,” Hursh said. “A recent renovation follow-up survey we conducted in late January indicated the quiet study and AV rooms are the most-liked features of the remodeled facility.”

The remodeled facility was also fitted with a technology alcove complete with printing and scanning services, as well as the tools necessary for preparing musical score copies for performance purposes. The open wall spaces provided by the renovation and a new display case will be used to showcase student art, a form of outreach to student body members who might otherwise not know there is a music library on their campus.

A Jan. 20 open house celebration was held to reveal the revitalized space and recognize those who contributed to the project.

Janice S. Lewis, director of academic library services, noted that “the maxim ‘Listen, Observe, Think & Then Take Action’ successfully served as a guide to the Music Library renovation.” The renovation is the second major project undertaken by the Joyner Library Advancement Council.

Current council chair Shelby Strother recounted her experiences as a student in the School of Music, preparing for listening exams in a hallway with classmates. She marveled, “how far we have come in supporting School of Music students.”

The Music Library is located on the first floor of the Fletcher Music Center. For more information please visit or call 252-328-6250.


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, Joyner Library

ECU pianist to perform at Smithsonian dedication

East Carolina University faculty pianist John O’Brien will be performing with University of North Carolina soprano Louise Toppin at President Obama’s Freedom Sounds dedication of the Smithsonian’s new African American History Museum on September 24 in Washington.



Conceived and presented in festival fashion, Freedom Sounds programming will include musical performances, spoken word, oral history activities and evening concerts. The three-day music festival presents artists who represent the numerous cultural threads encompassing African diasporic histories and traditions.

O’Brien and Toppin were invited to present a program entitled “Songs of protest: then and now” to celebrate the musical contributions of African American composers.

Visit for more information.

–Harley Dartt

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