Dawn of the Arts, the celebratory concert at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, will introduce the Institute for the Arts, an organization that aims to recognize the creative talent in the UM Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre and Film.
World-renowned concert pianist Bruce Levingston, who has performed at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Boston Opera House and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, will be featured as the main event of the night.
Among his other accolades, Levingston is one of the most frequently streamed classical recording artists. His songs have resounded around the world more than 11 million times on various streaming platforms, and his album “Heavy Sleep” was named among one of the “Best Classical Recordings of the Year” by The New York Times.
According to an article published on the All About The Arts site, “Bruce Levingston’s magisterial playing of this music reaffirms his position as one of America’s great pianists.”
Levingston currently serves as both the Chancellor’s Artist in Residence and Fant Chair in the Sally McDonnell Honors College. A native of the Mississippi Delta, Levingston has continually promoted civil rights and education through his professional career.
In addition to Levingston’s solo renditions of the works of Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Schubert and Rachmaninoff, Dawn of the Arts also will incorporate elements of visual art, music, film, sculpture and exhibit creative works presented by accomplished artists such as Brooke Alexander, Virginia Rougon Chavis, Philip Jackson, Daniel Ney, Durant Thompson and Brooke White.
“I am so excited that this concert will feature performances by some of the most outstanding young artists on our campus including mezzo-soprano Christine Powell-Thomas, marimbist Chloe King, and actors Katherine Reese Overstreet, Samantha Turner and Parker Viator,” Levingston said in an interview with the DM. “We will also show a film about UM artists and their departments, including art, film, music, and theater, created by Will Jones.” (Jones is the DM’s assistant arts and culture editor.)
Levingston praised the arts at the University of Mississippi and shared his love for the students and atmosphere within the arts departments at the university.
“The students I encounter here are extremely gifted and deeply interested in learning about the arts,” Levingston said. “Their generous spirits and care for our society inspires me everyday.”
Thanks to the artistic vision and donations of University of Mississippi alumni Jan and Lawrence Farrington and pledges from other donors, the institute aims to broaden students’ horizons and feature the flourishing arts, music, film and theater at the university.
Nancy Maria Balach, director of the institute and department chair of music, expressed her gratitude to Levingston for “his commitment to the arts and his generosity in performing” at the concert.
Chancellor Glenn Boyce also shared his excitement for the event and the future of the arts at UM.
“Having one of the cultural greats of Mississippi and our nation, who continues to bring teaching excellence and national stature to Ole Miss, significantly enhances the learning opportunities and life-changing experiences we offer our students,” Boyce said in the event press release.
Levingston and guests will take the stage September 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.