Beethoven meets Bluegrass in Madison March 19 | News

On March 19 at 7 pm, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center presents Mark and Maggie O’Conner, and the internationally-renown Vega String Quartet.

Together, they expertly weave bluegrass and classical music into a tapestry of sounds unlike any other. The Beethoven and Bluegrass performance will be the fourth and final act of the 20th Annual Madison Chamber Music Festival Series.

The MMCC is excited to have this unique pairing round out an extraordinary slate of musicians performing during the 20th season of the MMCC’s Annual Chamber Music Festival. The series celebrates the classical sounds of chamber music in a modern, fresh way.

The talented composer and fiddler, Mark O’Conner, is one such innovative musician. He creates truly special works of art by intertwining Appalachian folk melodies with the sounds and patterns of bluegrass, waltz, jazz, and classical music. This ability to blend so many styles into beautifully crafted pieces has earned him the nickname “the bluegrass equivalent of George Gershwin” by the ECMSA artistic director, William Ransom.

His innovative compositions, ranging from orchestral pieces to solos, pair well with the expressive stylings of violinist and wife, Maggie O’Conner. They also pair well with the thrilling virtuosity of the Vega String Quartet, creating a fresh new sound that is simply sensational.

The Vega Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at Emory University, is internationally recognized for their dynamic performances that entrance new and old generations alike. The ensemble is comprised of Dr. Emily Dagget Smith (violin), Jessica Shuang Wu (violin), Yinzi Kong (viola), and Guang Wang (cello). The foursome shares the belief that “great music is always modern, remaining vital, impactful, and essential to both performers and audiences.”

The collaboration of the O’Conners and the Vega Quartet was a masterstroke of genius by William Ransom, director of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. He knew audiences would be enchanted by them performing together, and he was not wrong. Their arrangements crackle with energy at times and simmer with bluesy soulfulness at others. The Beethoven and Bluegrass Concert sold out at Emory in September of 2021, and the Cultural Center anticipates that happening in Madison as well.

General Admission Tickets for the event are $50 and can be purchased now at MMCC-ARTS.ORG or by phone at 706-342-4743. A finale party for Platinum-Level Festival Friends follows the show.

This Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is a non-profit foundation with a mission to enrich the lives of the residents of its immediate community and the broader region by presenting high-quality programming and educational opportunities in the fields of visual and performing arts, history, and other humanities. MMCC will preserve and interpret its historic buildings and will cooperate with other organizations that have mission-compatible goals.

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