Music programs are added to this schedule throughout the year, please continue to check back for updated information. Unless otherwise noted, concerts take place in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. For more information on concerts, please call 410-626-2539. Campus Map and Driving Directions
Hailed by AllAboutJazz.com, a website dedicated to the world of jazz music, as “a giant in the making,” Grammy-nominated guitarist Julian Lage’s eclectic style blends chamber music, modern jazz, and other genres. Chris Eldridge, a founding member of Punch Brothers and more recent member of the seminal bluegrass group The Seldom Scene, is “the most talked-about guitarist in the bluegrass world,” according to Acoustic Guitar magazine. As a duo, Lage and Eldridge are known for their improvisation, spontaneous compositions, and virtuosic refinement.
A member of the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the Washington Post says Brian Ganz is “a player and an onstage presence, [who] is elegant, thoughtful and earnest.” Ganz has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, and the National Symphony. He is in the midst of a multi-year project in which he will perform the complete works of Chopin at Strathmore outside of Washington, D.C.
Music for the Mind
Since 1991, Eric Stoltzfus, a cellist as well as music librarian and tutor on the Annapolis campus, has brought a diverse array of live music to St. John’s, ranging from classical to jazz and just about everything in between. As organizer of the St. John’s College Concert Series, Stoltzfus, who grew up in a midwestern musical family, brings his love of singing and music to St. John’s. As the fall concert season approaches, Stoltzfus reflects on the St. John’s College Concert Series and the role of music in the Program of study at St. John’s.
How are Johnnies engaged in music and singing in the Program?
At St. John’s, students study music along with other subjects like physics and Greek as part of the all-required curriculum. From around the time the New Program started in 1937, music has played an important role at the college. Students sing together in Freshmen Chorus and sophomore music tutorials, so the understanding of music as a part of the liberal arts curriculum begins with the experience of making music with one’s own body and together with a larger body of students.
How does the St. John’s College Concert Series relate to the Program?
Our concerts actually work much like the Friday night lectures in that audiences come to the events in the same way—to be intellectually challenged and engaged rather than to be merely “entertained.” Many of the musicians have said to me after their performance, “Wow! The audience was really listening.” They enjoy performing for an audience that is so clearly engaged in the music.
Who attends the concerts?
I think our audience tends to be younger than at most other colleges. At St. John’s, music is an important part of the Program, and many students attend. In addition, much of the audience consists of members of the Annapolis area community. Concerts are presented for both the college and the community—all are welcome.
In what ways does music contribute to a St. John’s education?
A person who is making music or listening to it is grasping the deep roots of music in number, meter, ratio, and counting. But they are also partaking of its language, grammar, motions, and structural wholeness. Great works of human imagination have been conceived as music. How can we understand and give voice to this mystery? One way to think of the work of the music tutorial at St. John’s is to ask, “Can we experiment with tones like the experiments of laboratory science? In what way can we ask questions of a great work of music as we would ask of a great written work in seminar? Music is a liberal art. How can we treat it as such?”
How do you select artists for the Concert Series?
We present three concerts throughout the year; the series typically includes a string quartet, an instrumental soloist, and a vocal ensemble. Performers often play great works that we study in the Program. For example, Johnnies learn to sing and learn to love Palestrina and other early polyphonic music.