Nancy Maria Balach and UM students to interview pianist on location in New York
APRIL 3, 2018 BY
When Bruce Levingston, renowned concert pianist and Chancellor’s Artist-in-Residence of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi, performs this month at Carnegie Hall, he will provide a unique educational opportunity for students involved in the Living Music Resource program.
Levingston and Nancy Maria Balach, UM associate professor of music and founder of Living Music Resource, are working closely together to give select students a chance to hear a great pianist in one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues and to assist with the production of an “LMR Live” program on location in New York City.
Balach, along with four of her top students, dubbed the “Dream Team,” will film and interview Levingston in New York as part of a special edition of “LMR Live,” an interactive web-based talk show series focused on “edutainment,” Balach said.
“Living Music Resource was created as a vehicle to bring acclaimed professionals to Mississippi in general and UM in particular, as well as a way to showcase some of Mississippi’s finest artists, such as Bruce Levingston, who was born in the Delta,” Balach said. “LMR allows UM to be the portal for a 21st-century approach to musical experiences.”
LMR offers music majors exceptional educational experiences, links alumni with Ole Miss students and engages an international viewing audience.
Balach, a singer who has appeared throughout the U.S. and in Europe, is dedicated to bridging the musical traditions of the past with the resources of today, along with the latest technology, breaking boundaries between musical genres, redefining stereotypes of classical music, focusing on collaboration and inclusiveness, and being committed to community engagement.
LMR brings acclaimed artists and pedagogues, such as Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winners, Broadway and Metropolitan Opera stars, Ole Miss alumni and local artists, to Oxford. It allows students to interact with professionals in the music business through master classes, question-and-answer sessions and “LMR Live.”
The next “LMR Live” event will take place in conjunction with Levingston’s performance at Carnegie Hall on April 9, the date that Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed as “Bruce Levingston Day” in Mississippi. Levingston will perform the world premiere of new works of music he commissioned in honor of the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Mississippi Museum of History and in celebration of the state’s bicentennial.
“It’s a joy for me to work with Nancy Maria and these gifted students during this special weekend in New York City,” Levingston said. “Nancy Maria Balach is a visionary and her founding of the Living Music Resource program is helping to lead these young musicians and the university music program into the highest level of artistic engagement with the musical world.”
The four student members of the LMR Dream Team scheduled to travel to New York next month are: Ava Street, a junior education major and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College scholar from Purvis; Jocelyn Sanabria, a senior vocal performance major from Atoka, Tennessee; Lacey Hindman, a senior vocal performance major who also is from Atoka; and Melanie Culhane, a graduate assistant from Memphis who is pursuing her master’s degree in vocal performance.
“LMR teaches students to market themselves, to discipline their lives and to continually better their craft through research and collaboration,” Street said. “Professor Balach has encouraged and inspired me to pursue greatness.”
Sanabria said Levingston’s rise to the top tier of internationally recognized pianist serves as an inspiration to her and other artists in the South.
“I am very excited to see Bruce Levingston perform in Carnegie Hall,” Sanabria said. “I hope that by being on location in New York City, we will be able to showcase what the University of Mississippi has to offer.
“I hope to return to UM a better musician with new connections for collaboration and methods for teaching.”
Besides having an opportunity to see Levingston perform at Carnegie Hall, Culhane said she is looking forward to working with her professor and fellow students to overcome whatever challenges may arise from producing a “LMR Live” program in an unfamiliar setting.
“It will be an experience that artistically minded individuals and people who appreciate art can enjoy,” Culhane said. “I think it’ll be a great experience for the LMR Dream Team to travel to New York City and to be working on location.”
Levingston, who is also the inaugural holder of the university’s Lester Glenn Fant Chair, said he is deeply moved by the students’ desire to come to see him perform in New York.
“These are incredibly talented students from the university who work with this wonderful LMR program, and I am inspired and honored by their interest in coming to this event,” Levingston said.
“They are the next generation of emerging artists who have much to give and much to teach. I know that I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”
Levingston’s enthusiasm in being a part of the “LMR Live” program illustrates the pianist’s heartfelt commitment to the university and its students, Balach said.
“I am truly fortunate to call Bruce Levingston a friend and a colleague at the University of Mississippi Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Department of Music,” she said. “He is a person dedicated to music, mentorship, education and public spirit.”
Many Mississippians are expected to attend the Carnegie Hall concert, and Balach encourages music lovers from the Ole Miss community to join them by securing tickets now.
“We cannot wait to be in the audience at Carnegie Hall and experience this Mississippi-born artist sharing musical excellence in New York City,” she said.
Everyone is invited to watch the “LMR Live” interview in real time from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (CDT) Saturday (April 7) via the LMR website at http://livingmusicresource.com/. The program also will be archived at this website for those unable to watch it live.