SSMF Faculty Concert


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Members of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Faculty will present a concert at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 29, in Guerry Auditorium. The concert will be followed by a post-concert reception in McGriff Alumni House. The concert is free and open to the public.

“This is a first time effort for the festival to have a presence outside of the summer,” said John Kilkenny, artistic director of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF). “We’re bringing faculty to campus, to play as a thank-you and also as an announcement of the season.”

Meant to serve as a preview of the upcoming SSMF season, both longtime and new faculty will perform a varied repertoire, featuring Bill Yelverton playing classical guitar, Paula Bressman, on harp and Hillary Herndon on viola, among others.

Bressman, visiting instructor of harp and second harpist in the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, is one half of the harp duo Beyond Pluck. Bressman will play an original arrangement of The Who’s Baba O’Riley with Rachel Miller of the Southwest Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, as well as Parvis: Cortège et Danse by Bernard Andres.

“I grew up on classic rock — my dad had what seemed like every record ever, and driving me to harp lessons, we’d be listening to all classic rock, including the Who. Later on as I got used to the techniques, I was able to do my first rock arrangement,” Bressman said. “This song really lends itself well to not only the harp but many other orchestral instruments.”

Bressman, who attended SSMF during her high school years, is joining the faculty to revamp the harp program this year. Bill Yelverton, visiting professor of guitar, will be leading a new guitar program this summer as well.

Yelverton will perform as a featured soloist on April 29, presenting a set of variations on a Spanish renaissance piece, as well as Canarios by Gaspar Sanz.

Hillary Herndon, who first joined the faculty in 2006, will be performing alongside Gregory Lee of the University of Oklahoma and Brittany McWilliams of the University of Louisville, presenting the third and fourth movements of Antonín Dvořák’s Terzetto in C.

Herndon will also perform with Jason Calloway, cellist from Frost Music School, and Amy Chang, pianist from the University of Michigan, to present Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major.

SSMF organizers will be hosting the newly-formed National Advisory Board for the preview concert. The board was organized to provide the festival with strategic direction, according to Kilkenny.

This year’s season of the SSMF will begin at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15. Season tickets ($125) and tickets for individual events ($20) are on sale now at <ssmf.sewanee.edu/tickets>. The season will run through Sunday, July 14.