Arts Campus News

First Faculty Artist Series concert to feature new saxophone lecturer

Brandon Quarles is a saxaphone lecturer in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. (Submitted photo)

Alumnus Brandon Quarles, one of the newly hired faculty members at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, will introduce himself to the campus community when he opens the Faculty Artist Series with his concert on Sept. 28 in Ramsey Hall at 7:30 p.m.

A native of Ringgold, Quarles is a teacher and music-maker who believes in the power of interdisciplinary and cross-genre collaborations. Prior to his appointment at UGA, Quarles taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After six years of living and working in Chicago, he said he is excited about returning to his home state of Georgia.

“Now I’ve come home to Athens and this concert celebrates the many different musical styles and practices that have made me who I am today,” said Quarles, lecturer of saxophone and allied areas.

Contemporary classical music mingles with jazz, experimental improvisation and pop songwriting in the program he named “Homecoming.” Quarles will perform on the saxophone as well as play keyboards, electronics and even sing a few tunes.

For this concert, Quarles will be joined by a team of collaborators including Connie Frigo, Greg Hankins, Emily Koh, Greg Satterthwaite and James Weidman. Andy Akiho’s “Karakurenai,” featuring Greg Satterthwaite, James Weidman and Quarles on different keyboard instruments, kicks off the show with an uplifting groove.

“Viet Cuong’s powerful ‘Sanctuary,’ written during the pandemic for me and a consortium of other saxophonists, expresses our yearning for refuge during this terrible crisis, and I’m happy to be reunited with my old friend Greg Hankins for this regional premiere,” said Quarles.

Marcos Balter’s “Wicker Park” drops listeners under a hazy streetlight in one of his favorite neighborhoods of Chicago. As a Taylor Swift fan, Quarles said that her 2020 album “folklore” was a true godsend during the depths of the pandemic, so he’ll be singing “epiphany” from that album.

Quarles also will perform one of his own compositions, “Mockingbird.” Frigo, co-director of the UGA Saxophone Studio, will join him to perform David Biedenbender’s haunting “Staying the Night,” a meditation on loss featuring poetry by Robert Fanning. The whole cast of collaborators will join Quarles for a grand finale of Pauline Oliveros’ completely improvised “Thirteen Changes.”

“We’ll use Oliveros’ evocative text-score to create our own music right on the Ramsey stage. You’ll never hear this particular performance ever again,” Quarles said.

Tickets to the concert are $12 for adults and $3 for students with a valid ID and can be purchased through the Performing Arts Center Box Office online, by calling 706-542-4400 or in person before the event. There will also be live streaming available at https://www.music.uga.edu/live-streaming. If joining in person, the Hodgson School strongly encourages patrons to wear a mask inside the halls and public spaces.