By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
This is one Bruce Levingston concert that is about more than just music.
The renowned pianist is bringing his pals, the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, for a concert at the Ford Center on the Ole Miss campus, and the night includes a performance of French composer Camille Saint-Saens’ “The Carnival of the Animals.”
Oxford-based journalist Curtis Wilkie and Oxford arts supporter Patty Lewis will be on hand to read verses of Ogden Nash’s accompanying poem.
“Having art and literature and music all in one evening is a natural and wonderful thing,” Levingston said in an interview with the Daily Journal.
The evening begins with a reception and art auction. The art auctioned off will be that of pieces inspired by “The Carnival of the Animals,” by painters and photographers such as William Dunlap, Jason Bolden and more. Proceeds benefit the University Museum.
“I think it’s interesting to do this, because so many composers and painters and writers throughout history knew one another and were inspired by one another,” Levingston said. “When people can see all these things come together, you can make it work in an organic way.”
Levingston works well with the Brooklyn Rider quartet, including violinist Colin Jacobsen.
“I was so blown away by (Jacobsen)’s playing that I asked him to join me the following year at Lincoln Center, and that began a tremendous collaboration,” Levingston said. “We have inspired one another and learned from one another.”
And “The Carnival of the Animals” is a fun piece to play, he said.
“The variety of instruments imitate the sounds of all the animals, so people can literally hear the feathers flying and the lions roaring and the cuckoos making their bird call inside those various pieces,” he said. “They’re very beautiful, but also very humorous. It’s a really, really fun piece to play.”
Levingston invites all art supporters to check out the evening of music, art and poetry.
“It’s a coming together of wonderful people and wonderful creative energy,” he said, “and we hope the audience will join in with that.”
Check it out
What: Bruce Levingston with the Brooklyn Rider Sring Quartet and Friends
When: Reception at 5:30 p.m., concert at 7 p.m., Feb. 2
Where: Ford Center, Oxford
Cost: $29 and $21/concert, $20/reception
Info: (662) 915-2787, fordcenter.org