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TAA Performers and Performances

Performances are an integral part of the Tennessee Arts Academy experience. At Sunday’s opening Overture Celebration and at the Wednesday evening Bravo Banquet, world-class artists perform for TAA participants. Regional theatre, dance, and music soloists and ensembles are showcased each day during a thirty-minute presentation in the Massey Performing Arts Center. A diverse group of local artists and performing groups are featured as part of every special event function held throughout the Academy week.

2024 Tennessee Arts Academy Performers
Young Concert Artists on Tour
Cello, Piano, Violin Concert
by Luciano Berio
Gregory Wolynec, Conductor
Sara Crigger, Mezzo Soprano
4:00 pm
 - 
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Massey Performing Arts Center

Young Concert Artists on Tour features three extraordinarily talented musicians: cellist James Baik, violinist Risa Hokamura, and pianist Chaeyoung Park. Their program for TAA will include solo works, duets, and trios. TAA is honored to host this one-of-a-kind concert spotlighting these rising, world-class artists. Here is more about each performer.

Cellist James Baik has been described as an artist with “an undeniable authority” and as one possessing “a real warmth emerging in lyricism” by Belgian newspaper Le Soir after his astounding performance at the 2021 Queen Elisabeth competition. First prize winner of the 2023 Susan Wadsworth Young Concert Artists International Auditions and recipient of the Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Prize, Baik is a Young Concert Artist Jacobs Fellow. He made his debut solo appearance in 2015 with the Houston Civic Symphony Orchestra and the Clear Lake Symphony. Baik was also awarded the grand prize at the Walgreens National Competition, resulting in a performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto with conductor Dr. Allen Dennis at Northwestern University. He was also a finalist at the 2019 Stulberg International String Competition and would go on to receive the first prize at the prestigious Irving M. Klein International Competition. Recently, Baik was a fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, where he gave widely praised performances of Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata and the Franck Sonata in A Major. He is currently a bachelor of music candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music where he studies with Clive Greensmith.

Risa Hokamura began studying the violin at the age of three, and by the age of ten captured top prizes in competitions throughout her home country of Japan. She first came to international attention upon winning First Prize in the 2018 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions when she was seventeen. She also won the Tannery Pond Concerts Prize, and the Silver Medal at the 2018 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, where she performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Hokamura has since performed as concerto soloist with many orchestras including the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. She made her New York City debut at Merkin Hall and her Washington, DC, debut at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Hokamura studied at the Tokyo College of Music as the honorary scholarship student under the tutelage of Koichiro Harada. She continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music as the full scholarship student under the tutelage of Koichiro Harada and Lucie Robert. Hokamura is also a recipient of scholarships from the Ezoe Memorial Foundation and the Rohm Music Foundation.

Chaeyoung Park has been praised as a passionate pianist who, “Does not play a single note without thought or feeling” (New York Concert Review). Embracing a broad range of the classical music literature, her programs feature works ranging from the early French Baroque by Rameau, to Beethoven sonatas, to new music by living composers including South Korean classical composer Unsuk Chin. Through Park’s various roles as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, she has performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Tongyeong International Music Festival, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall, as well as live-streamed concerts presented by the Gilmore Rising Stars series, the Carlsen Center, and the Lied Center of Kansas virtual series. As winner of the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Park is the first female South Korean pianist to receive first place in the history of the competition. Introduced to the piano in her kindergarten music class, she immediately showed a love for music, which was deepened by her grandmother’s gift of a Yamaha upright piano. When she won her first local competition at age eight, Park’s musical studies became serious. She immigrated to the United States at age ten to study with Jack Winerock, to whom she credits much of her musical upbringing.

DancEast Collective
Moving the Needle: Still and Champion
by Luciano Berio
Gregory Wolynec, Conductor
Sara Crigger, Mezzo Soprano
11:30 am
 - 
Monday, July 15, 2024
Massey Performing Arts Center

Still, choreographed by Alex Winner, is an exploration of the interpersonal and communal ties that remain with us throughout our lives, regardless of physical location and proximity. We carry echoes of our past that are mirrored in others. Each comes with a story or experience attached. So even when we are not together, we are still connected.

Champion is visual storytelling. Choreographer Tony Perrin was inspired by the lyrics of the song “Champion”, written by his wife Tracee. The song provides a window into Tracee’s life experiences and Tony’s perspective on being part of her journey. The lyrics are universal and allow the listener to connect with the writer’s thoughts on conforming while clinging to hope and experiencing breakthroughs from failure and success. Perrin's movement works to convey these two dualities. Four of the dancers act as societal pressures, life's struggles, and the literal costume we wear to get through the day. The movement is weighted and rooted to the earth, reflecting a central question expressed by the songwriter when asking, “How long do I keep climbing, and why is the prize so hard to find?” The hero, representing Tracee, pushes back to find the joy and tenderness in the journey, as she breaks free and connects with movement rooted in levity and naivete.

About DancEast Collective

In 2022, DancEast Collective launched a resident professional company in order to further the mission of creating original dance works and supporting professional artists. Led by artistic director Elizabeth Wilkinson, DancEast Collective encourages multi-disciplinary collaborations inspired by the creative spirit of the Nashville community. As Nashville’s hub for contemporary dance, DancEast Collective offers classes for children and adults, rehearsal and performance opportunities for professional dancers, and community programming at area schools, libraries, and senior centers.

NASHVILLE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Orchestral Concert
by Luciano Berio
Gregory Wolynec, Conductor
Sara Crigger, Mezzo Soprano
11:30 am
 - 
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Massey Performing Arts Center

The Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra will present a program for TAA attendees that includes a variety of excerpts from the contemporary and classical orchestral repertoire.

About the Orchestra

The Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO), an all-volunteer community orchestra featuring amateur and professional players from middle Tennessee, is proud to play its part in enriching the already vibrant Nashville arts community. Its mission is to offer area orchestral musicians opportunities to perform, while providing high-quality symphonic music free of charge to a wide variety of audiences. Founded in January 2004 by Kelly Corcoran, Christopher Norton took up the baton in 2008 to lead the NPO, and he continues advancing the mission of community outreach and musical excellence. The Nashville Philharmonic performs a diverse repertoire of different genres and styles anchored in the orchestral tradition. The orchestra features area soloists and new music by local composers and sponsors annual concerto and composition competitions as well as a year-long fellowship for aspiring conductors.

Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor        Christoper Norton

Orchestra Conductor

Christopher Norton was appointed music director and conductor of the Nashville Philharmonic in March 2008. Prior to moving to Tennessee, he held a similar post for nearly a decade in Kentucky with the Bowling Green Western Symphony Orchestra. Norton has guest conducted the Nashville Symphony, Alabama Symphony Orchestra,

Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Ballet, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Vanderbilt University Orchestra, and Blair Chamber Orchestra. He earned his doctorate from Louisiana State University and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Norton studied orchestral conducting with David Effron, choral conducting with John MacDonald, and band conducting with Frank Wickes. He also credits the educational benefits of performing for thirty years as a percussionist in professional orchestras under a wide array of conductors. Norton is a professor of music and the director of percussion studies at Belmont University.

Operations Director

Alan Fey joined the NPO in February 2019. Fey is an arts administrator, percussionist, composer, arranger, and conductor who specializes in performance logistics and in performing solo and chamber music. In addition to his role with the NPO, he serves as executive director of Make Music Nashville and has previously worked as an administrator with the Grammy-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble and Portara Ensemble. Fey is a regular percussionist with ALIAS and a frequent soloist. He is also actively involved in advocating for equity in arts and cultural funding.

Mandy Gonzalez
Mandy Gonzalez in Concert
by Luciano Berio
Gregory Wolynec, Conductor
Sara Crigger, Mezzo Soprano
8:30 pm
 - 
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Curb Event Center Arena

Mandy Gonzalez is an accomplished actor on the stage, in film, and on television. She possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Gonzalez has starred on Broadway in the megahit Hamilton as Angelica Schuyler. She also originated Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In the Heights, for which she received a Drama Desk Award. Gonzalez also starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, blowing the roof off of New York’s Gershwin Theatre each night as she belted out the signature song, “Defying Gravity.” Gonzalez received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’. Television viewers have had the pleasure of seeing her in recurring roles in the hit series Madam Secretary, Bull, Quantico, and alongside Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building. Equally at home on the big and small screens, she has appeared in Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor; in After starring opposite Pablo Schreiber; and in Man on a Ledge with Sam Worthington. Gonzalez can also be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s Mulan 2 and as the voice of Mother Rose on the Disney+ and Disney Jr. series Alice’s Wonderland Bakery.

A frequent concert soloist, Gonzalez has performed with symphony orchestras around the world. Some highlights include Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Atlanta Pops, to name a few. She released her debut album Fearless as a Warner Music East West artist.

Gonzalez is deeply committed to advocating for underserved communities and schools. She serves on the boards of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, where she actively promotes awareness and fundraising efforts. Her dedication to giving back is evident in her fearless work for these organizations. In her quest to create positive change, Gonzalez is the proud founder of #FearlessSquad, a social media movement for inclusiveness and positivity. Gonzalez is also an accomplished author who recently published her young adult series, Fearless, with Simon & Schuster.

Playhouse on the Square and Circuit Playhouse, Inc.
Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds
by Luciano Berio
Gregory Wolynec, Conductor
Sara Crigger, Mezzo Soprano
11:20 am
 - 
Thursday, July 18, 2024
Massey Performing Arts Center

Mama says, “Breathe easy,” but Ziggy's afraid to leave the house. He's too busy worrying about tropical storms, evil spirits, and steering clear of that sneaky, hair-snatching Duppy! But with the help of Dr. Bird and his feathered friends, Ziggy is reminded – in soothing six-part harmony – that “every little thing gonna be all right.” Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is a heartwarming musical that offers an inspiring story about conquering our fears, set to the uplifting music of Bob Marley. Based on a story by Cedella Marley, with music and lyrics by Bob Marley, the show has been adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt.

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is presented by Playhouse on the Square, in partnership with Circuit Playhouse, Inc. Sponsors for this production include Super Sponsor Dr. Thomas Ratliff, Education and Outreach Sponsor AutoZone, and Show Sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust. Additional support is provided by City of Memphis, Jerry and Nina Patton Family Foundation, and the Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation.

About Playhouse on the Square and Circuit Playhouse, Inc.

Playhouse on the Square is a testament to the indelible spirit of Memphis, Tennessee. Having produced more than eight hundred shows before an audience of 3.5 million people, the company is grateful for the unwavering support of the community and plans to continue its tradition of innovation, growth, and shared moments of love and meaning. Located in the heart of Memphis, Circuit Playhouse, Inc. serves as the guardian of a vibrant pulse, a rhythm that celebrates the city's triumphs, challenges, and devotion to artistic expression. The company, originally known as the Circuit Players, has evolved into Memphis’s leading professional theatre company, weaving together stories that evoke laughter, tears, and self-reflection. For more than five decades, Circuit Playhouse has been a beacon of the arts in the community, inviting audiences to join them on a journey of growth and imagination.

This production of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds by Playhouse on the Square and Circuit Playhouse, Inc is made possible by a generous gift from Pat and Thane Smith.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2024 Tennessee Arts Academy.
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