Over the course of his performing and recording career, John Bullard has invited audiences to share in a transformative revelation: to experience the artistic marriage of banjo and classical music. “Absolutely enchanting,” writes critic Graham Rickson of the UK-based The Arts Desk. “A musical education and experience that broke genre barriers,” noted Morgan Morrison, program director for the performance space The Barns of Rose Hill.
As a classically trained musician and the first graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music to earn a degree in performance with the banjo, John Bullard has established a critically praised performing and recording career dedicated to exploring the artistic marriage of banjo and classical music.
Bullard understands that accepting the banjo—a “folk” instrument with a complex pedigree—into the classical fold is a challenging proposition for traditionalists; the guitar once had to navigate a similar journey to mainstream
acceptance. But through three album-length recordings, live performance, and workshops, Bullard continues to introduce the classical banjo to a growing audience worldwide.
Bullard’s concert repertoire includes solo, duet, and quartet performances of works from Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and others of the Baroque Period, along with later-period pieces by Schumann and others. More recently, Bullard has begun featuring new work by contemporary American composers, including a Caprice in D minor in the Romantic style, from composer Frank Mullen, and a set of 24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, commissioned from Adam Larrabee. In addition, Bullard is now working on a new collaboration with the genre-fusing composer Joshua Stamper.
More information, including recent videos of Bullard in performance, can be found at JohnBullard.com
Seasons: From Sea to Summit
Voice, Poetry and Paint by Rina Lucas
Piano by Maestro Arshak Sirunyan
The Center is proud to present a multimedia concert & visual arts exhibition, featuring Rina Lucas, on Saturday, June 18 at 5:00 pm. Original paintings, poetry, and compositions! Accompanying Rina throughout her concert will be Maestro Arshak Sirunyan on the piano. A reception to celebrate Rina's visual arts exhibition in the Falcon Gallery will immediately follow the concert.
As the artists’ multi-genre musical performance winds its way through the seasons rising from the ocean to the mountains via images found in Rina’s paintings and poetry, connections to the seasons of life are also illuminated.
A Special Thank You to the Sponsors of "Seasons: From Sea to Summit"
Capital Door Inc.
VCOM-Virginia – Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
On the Water in Floyd
About Rina Lucas
Soprano Rina Lucas is known for her powerful instrument, effortless range, and musical versatility. Comfortable in multiple genres, she is sought after as a soloist for recitals, concerts, and other special occasions. Rina was delighted to make her debut with The Charleston Symphony Orchestra as Soprano Soloist for Handel’s Messiah at historic Mt. Zion AME Church in 2018 and was invited back for the 2019 season. After performing with the Charleston United Choir for the televised Spot Light Awards honoring the Emmanuel Nine at the Gaillard Center in 2018, she returned to this diverse stage as a featured soloist for The Spot Light Awards 2019 alongside vocal group Earth Angels. As an artist in paint and poetry as well as voice, her multimedia performances have dazzled audiences throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina including her original show “Seasons: A Visual and Vocal Journey” which debuted during Piccolo Spoleto 2019 alongside pianist and composer Arshak Sirunyan. Also during Piccolo Spoleto 2019, she was a co-presenter and featured artist in voice and visual art for “Sounds of the Holy City with Small Opera, Staff & Palette, and Mt. Zion AME”. In 2018, she drew acclaim for her Charleston solo recital debut featuring her original oil paintings, poetry, and multi-genre vocal repertoire including her own arrangements. During the 2020-2021 pandemic, she continued to create multimedia shows for online viewing including “Farewell Ode to Winter - A Virtual Performance” filmed at The Floyd Center for the Arts in Floyd, VA and “Virtually Yours - Spring’s Serenade for Summer” filmed at the Moss Center in Blacksburg, VA both by MNF Productions. She recently performed live at the Auburn campus and virtually at the Louisiana Campus for the 2021 Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine White Coat Ceremony. She performed for the Mercer School of Medicine Commencement 2019 Ceremony, and her recorded performance was utilized for the virtual ceremony in 2020. She has been a proud member of the internationally acclaimed Lowcountry Voices Mass Choir as well as the separately auditioned Concert Choir, and has been featured as a regular soloist. She has also sung chorally with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Rina, whose name in Hebrew means “Joyfully Singing”, has sung with multiple church choirs including ensembles, worship teams, and solo work. Because of her Jewish heritage, she also has served in a Cantorial role singing prayers in Hebrew. She has performed multiple solos at various historic sites while traveling in Israel.
Rina’s path to the profession has been nontraditional, having turned to the arts full time in 2012 after a career as a Physical Therapist. She received her Bachelor of Science from James Madison University, and her Master of Physical Therapy from Gannon University. Since that time, Rina has developed her musical gifts with several excellent mentors including Patricia Clevenger, Professor of Voice at Roanoke College, Sandra Barnhardt of Lift Up Your Voice Studio, and Dr. Jill Terhaar Lewis of Charleston Southern University. Rina has performed for multiple National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Master Classes as well as a SCNATS State Student Auditions in Spartanburg where she won first place and a Certificate of Distinction in her category (Contemporary Commercial Music). After receiving accolades from judges and reaching the final rounds of multiple voice competitions including Music International Grand Prix, Medici International Music Competition, CS Music, and New York Lyric Opera Company, she has been spotlighted in a national publication, CS Music Magazine, for her unique emergence into a fascinating new career https://www.csmusic.net/content/articles/an-artist-in-voice-paint/.
Rina has recently returned to the mountains of her native Virginia with her beloved husband John and their pups Ariel and Eli after a season of prolific artistic growth in Charleston, SC. Traveling from the sea to the summit, she re-opened her studio, Staff & Palette, in this lovely new setting, high atop ancient hills in Floyd County, which like the Lowcountry, provides so much inspiration for her work as an artist in paint, poetry, and voice. Though largely self taught in visual art, she has had some important mentors including Terry Lyon, Anne Way Bernard, Michael Farrar, and her own Uncle James Fleshman. In addition to being featured as a visual artist for multiple productions during Piccolo Spoleto 2019, her paintings have been published internationally in the May, August, and November 2021 issues of Artistonish Magazine, a juried, global publication. Her work was also featured in PETS 2021, an international juried online exhibition through EXHIBIZONE. She has also exhibited in several juried art shows including MOJA 2019 with Alvin Glen in Charleston, SC; Art Appalachia 2020 with Wendy Earle in Floyd, VA; the Floyd Center for the Arts 2021 National Exhibition juried by Z.L. Feng where she was awarded both Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice; and the 16th Biennial New River Art Juried Exhibition 2021 with Mary Holland in Radford, VA. In addition, her work has been invited for gallery shows including 2021 exhibitions The Gift of Art - 26 Years an Art Center and 18th Annual New Work Exhibition both in Floyd, VA. All of her paintings are accompanied by poetry, and plans are in the works to publish a book including images of her artwork and the poetic interpretations brushed onto the canvas. She has been writing poetry since her youth, but she has been inspired by mentoring and encouragement from Poet Laureate of Charleston, SC, Marcus Amaker. She sells her artwork online and from her home studio, and she often partners with animal charities, helping pups in need find loving homes through her “Painted Pooch Project”. She frequently uses her artwork as a way to advocate for worthy causes close to her heart. Her passion for building cultural bridges and deep desire for racial reconciliation and justice are important themes depicted in her work.
About Arshak Sirunyan
Born and raised in the city of Yerevan, Armenia, by the age of seven, Arshak Sirunyan’s natural musical talent had already come to the attention of Sergey Kechek, Director of the A. Spendiarov School of Music; one of the leading musical academies in Armenia. Studying under an unparalleled teacher and music mentor Arkuhi Harutyunyan, Arshak continued his study of classical piano styles for the next 10 years, performing solo concerts and going so far as to receive the third place award at the 1994 Armenian National J. S. Bach Concerto Competition. Later, he attended and graduated from Komitas State Conservatory, where he concentrated on Composition and Piano Performance under the tutelage of Stephan Rostomyan and Georgy Kasabyan. In the following years Arshak has composed classical and contemporary compositions for vocal, piano, clarinet, string quartet and symphonic orchestra. In 2002, the Armenian Komitas String Quartet performed a work composed by Arshak Sirunyan that was dedicated to the victims of the earthquake that struck Armenia fourteen years earlier.
In the year of 2002, after releasing his first album “Armenian Folk Melodies” with his friend Artur Yeghiazaryan, Arshak was granted the great opportunity to come to the United States of America. In 2008 Arshak found and produced a band by the name “Double Sharp“ with his two childhood friends Levon Mikaelian and Nune Vartanyan, which also includes two veterans of American jazz scene Tony Bunn and Wes Crawford. This gave birth to the album “With a Song in My Heart“. The same year he began working on his trio album “Journal“ [Released in 2010] and Tony’s project “Small World“ [Released in 2009] with Dennis Chambers on drums. In May 2010, “Twitching Eye“ from the album “Journal” receives “Honorable Mention” from the 2010 International Songwriting Competition.
In late 2012 Arshak began working on his “Hoodman’s Blind” project collaborating with multi Grammy Award winning & nominated musicians from all over the world featuring: Mike Stern, Omar Hakim, Eric Marienthal, Chieli Minucci, Bob Franceschini, Raul Pineda, Cheikh NDoye, John Lamkin III, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Artyom Manukyan, Artur Yeghiazaryan, Vardanyan String Quartet, and more. The new album, released on March 2nd, 2014 was quoted on All About Jazz “..to be one of the most unique and compelling releases of the year!” winning 1st place simultaneously in TWO categories of 2014 International Songwriting Competition: track “Hoodman’s Blind” in Jazz and track “Valor & Triumph” in Instrumental. Track “Messenger” was awarded “Honorable Mention”. Meanwhile, Arshak and the project were nominated in 3 categories in the 14th Independent Music Awards: ‘Jazz Instrumental Album’, ‘Jazz Instrumental Song’ (“Hoodman’s Blind”) and ‘Music Producer’ (with Cheikh NDoye / associate producer) of the year.
Watch a Past Performance by the Wren Masters
The Floyd Center for the Arts, partnering with the Virginia Blue Ridge Music Festival, invites all to join us for this concert featuring the Wren Masters. This special evening of Baroque Music played on period instruments (harpsichord, baroque violin, baroque cello & recorder) will begin and end with trio sonatas by Georg Philipp Telemann. Telemann was a contemporary and friend of Bach, and the most prolific major composer in music history (with over 3,000 compositions). He excelled in writing chamber music that sounds like lively conversation among friends.
The program also includes a set of baroque pieces, by various composers, that imitate the sounds of birds and various other animals: roosters and hens, nightingale, cuckoo, frog, quail, and a cat.
Another section of the program presents 18th-century music of Scotland and Ireland, a repertoire that came over with immigrants to America and nestled in the Appalachians where it has been preserved, and flourishes.
About the Wren Masters
The Wren Masters met through their involvement in early music performance at William & Mary. Tom Marshall has taught keyboards there since 1981; Ruth Griffioen joined the faculty in 1994 to teach music history and also founded the W&M Early Music Ensemble. Sarah Glosson first took up the viola gamba and baroque cello as a student in that ensemble, going on to play professionally. Susan Via added baroque violin to her repertoire after joining the W&M performance faculty in 1997. They are named after W&M's 17th-century Wren Chapel, their favorite venue.
The Floyd Center for the Arts is honored to partner with the Virginia Blue Ridge Music Festival and Roanoke Symphony Orchestra to present this classical concert, Serenade to Music. This concert features compositions by Milhaud, Poulenc, Gershwin, and Mozart performed by David Stewart Wiley & members of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.
Saturday, March 5 at 7 pm
Valentine's Piano Concert
Featuring Pianist Mark Valenti
Sunday, February 13, 2022 - 3 pm
The Floyd Center for the Arts, in partnership with Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival, will present a Valentine’s Piano Concert on Sunday, February 13th, beginning at 3 pm. Share an afternoon of romantic music with your special valentine! This first concert in the 2022 Concert Series will feature Pianist Mark Valenti, as he delivers compositions by Franz Schubert, Darius Milhaud, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Claude Debussy.
A classically trained musician, Mr. Valenti has performed in France, Belgium, Hungary and Luxembourg as well as for former First Lady Barbara Bush in Washington, D.C. His music has aired live on WFMT classical radio.
The afternoon's musical journey is set to begin with Sonata in A Major by Franz Schubert, a work of pure lyricism, with gentle shifts from major to minor, light to shade. The journey will end with a rendition of Claude Debussy’s L'isle Joyeuse, a piece whose musical depiction was inspired by a Jean-Antoine Watteau painting, Voyage to Cythera, which celebrates love.
After the performance, concertgoers are welcomed to stay for the Valentine's themed reception which follows. The afternoon is sure to draw the magnetism of the heart for all who attend.
Concert tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and $15 for students. Ticket sales are final, and non-refundable except in the event of concert cancellation or rescheduling.
To promote Covid safety, masks will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees.
Concert offered in partnership with