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Pickens meets Juilliard grads in a world premier

“Letters of the American South” theme of Sept. 23 concert

Casual Classics ColArtsEnsemble

Collaborative Arts Ensemble (at right) is made up of four recent Juilliard graduates: a singer, pianist, actor, and fiddler. The ensemble will perform a free concert on Saturday, Sept. 23.  

FREE CONCERT - Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., Fellowship Presbyterian Church. The Casual Classics Concert Series presents secular (non-religious) concerts suitable for all ages as a gift to Pickens County and north Georgia residents.

Suzanne Shull, Manager of the Casual Classics Series - now in its 12th season - recently interviewed Juilliard graduate, Thomas West,"Letters of the American South."

SS: What inspired you to write a world premiere?

 

TW: So much of what I do as a classical singer is re-creative work, taking what the composer wrote and coming up with my own interpretation. As much as I do enjoy this, there's nothing quite like building a piece of art that is original--it seems more human and more one's own voice. Of course, the great irony is that the materials one puts into a creative piece are not original at all, and yet there's something so powerful about constructing something in a way no one ever has. 

SS: Why did you choose "Letters of the American South" as your theme.

 

TW: Well, I guess the simple answer is that being from the South and actually originally from Georgia, I've always had a desire to create a program about this region I call home. The more complicated answer is that I also have a desire to use art as a tool for asking important questions and I believe that the history and overall construct of the American South is a perfect place to begin exploring some of these questions. It's my hope that our program offers the audience a chance for a kind of dialogue; An opportunity to make discoveries alongside the performers. 

 

SS: What did you study at Juilliard and where do you see yourself in five years?

 

TW: At Juilliard I studied Classical Voice/Opera but I really ended up spending more time working with artists that weren't singers than with ones that were. Of course, the next part of your question is the hardest to answer, but it is my belief that whatever I'm doing in five years, it will be involved in the arts in some capacity.  It's hard to imagine my life without it. 

 

SS: Who are other members of the Collaborative Arts Ensemble?

 

TW: The other members of Collaborative Arts Ensemble for this tour are: Matthew Maimone, piano; Jocelyn Zhu, violin; and Victoria Pollack, actress. All three are Juilliard graduates and are truly phenomenal cross-disciplinary artists. I'm so lucky to have had the chance to build this program with them and we are more excited to share it with all of you! 

 

Collaborative Arts Ensemble (at right) is made up of four recent Juilliard graduates: a singer, pianist, actor, and fiddler. The ensemble will perform a free concert on Saturday, Sept. 23.  

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