New faculty members Nave Graham and Austin Smith performed alongside associate professor of music Adam Estes Monday night.
Along with teaching saxophone and bassoon to students, Estes served as a search committee member who helped in hiring both Graham and Smith. The recital was an ordinary performance, but Estes used his platform to introduce the hires to the university.
“Both of them, I think, exhibited unbelievable skill on Monday night,” Estes said. “It was pretty obvious to all of us on the committee that they were outstanding at their craft.”
Graham and Smith both came from Cincinnati to teach at Ole Miss. Smith performed with multiple different orchestras, along with teaching at a small private college. Graham is an award-winning flutist along with previously holding the position of adjunct professor for Xavier University.
Smith had only been to Mississippi once before making the move for the instructor position at Ole Miss.
“It was a good move,” Smith said. “Everyone’s been very, very welcoming.”
Smith is instructing one-on-one oboe classes with students, and mentioned that he thinks that his performance helps with his teaching.
“I think it’s important for me to be out there performing a lot — both inside the university and outside — in order to share that experience with my students,” Smith said.
Graham commented on how excited she was to perform at Ole Miss for the first time along with playing the specific pieces at the recital.
“I feel incredibly grateful not only to have been able to perform for the community on Monday, but that I felt welcomed on stage,” Graham said. “Yes, the music was a bit weird, but it seemed that the audience held an open mind and really enjoyed it. That’s what music is about for me, being able to share these new experiences with people.”
Estes chose the music specifically for the trio of instruments, along with those that had deeper meaning for himself and potentially audience members.
“I’m going to choose music that I would enjoy playing with them and that would showcase them and and some way to sort of introduce them to our students and campus community at large,” Estes said. “This was their first time to perform in that venue, and their first semester here of work.”
Part of the performance was music by Estes’ friend Marilyn Shrude titled, “Lacrimosa.” The piece is what Estes described as a prayer about a student of Shrude’s that passed away unexpectedly.
Estes expressed his emotional grief over unexpected news is what lead to his decision to perform this particular piece.
“It was really kind of a cathartic way for me to handle my emotions with news,” Estes said. “So, you know, we all kind of handle it in different ways, and for me, as an artist, to pour my energies into the art helps me.”
Graham mentioned how she enjoys the emotional connections made through music.
“Music has that profound ability to turn your emotional state within moments, and the thought that I get to be a part of that is really cool to me,” Graham said.
Smith will be performing Nov. 11 in the Nutt Auditorium for a faculty recital, along with more performances with different faculty members throughout the year.