ACS Concert Series Seeks to Broaden Musical Horizons

Mary Kaitlin Enright

The Inaugural ACS Concert Series premiered its very first event on Thursday Sept. 28 in St. Mary’s Chapel: a string quartet performance with guest artists Joseph Kauffman, Kate Youngah Suk, Jonathan Kim and Elizabeth Thompson. Playing “La Rejouissance” (G.F. Handel), “Dido’s Lament” (H. Purcell) and “Quartet No. 19 in C Major,” otherwise known as “Dissonance” (W.A. Mozart), the group of brilliant artists brought a classical string of music to campus for the University’s students. 

The first performance of the new four-part concert series, this new program is meant to bring different and fine live music to campus, sponsored by the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program. Concert Series Organizers Elizabeth-Jane McGuire, Ph.D., and Professor Betsy Springuel hope to bring a new set of high-quality music to campus for students’ enjoyment. 

The first concert did exactly that. Not only did the room melt into silence at the beauty of the music in their ears, this concert also served as the perfect way to relax, unwind and cleanse the mind during the stressful and busy lives that so many of us Villanovans live. Performed by musicians with professional experience in and well beyond the Philadelphia area, the classical music of Handel, Purcell and Mozart came alive in the beautiful gem of St. Mary’s Chapel. Even as someone who doesn’t typically listen to classical music, I found myself calmed by the music and enjoying the shift in sound.

The University was highly fortunate to have some remarkable guest artists at this event. Kauffman has performed in the highly prestigious Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center amongst many others. Similarly, Youngah (violinist), who studied at the Oberlin College-Conservatory (BM), the Yale School of Music (MM) and the University of Kentucky (DMA, ABD), has opened for the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. Thompson (cellist) is a recurring musician for Princeton Pro Musica, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and the Masterworks Chorus orchestra and Kim (violinist) has been a member of orchestras across the world, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

The aforementioned guest artists exhibited incredible passion and expertise in their music, which was incredible to experience firsthand. While classical music is not everyone’s top pick for their Spotify playlists, a change in musical selection is a great way to expand the stretch of one’s cultural experiences. It was an interesting experience to compare and contrast the various music styles that cultures offer and explore beyond comfort zones. 

The Inaugural ACS Concert Series will continue to try to push those boundaries, as it will continue with three more concerts over the course of this year, hoping to gain an audience that will earn an annual return. The next event will feature Irish Musician and Folklorist Mick Moloney and the Green Fields of America on Wednesday, Oct. 25 in the Connelly Cinema at 5 p.m. Admission will be free and the series is ACS approved.