Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-07-31

The 2009-10 Davis Architects Guest Artist Series presented by Samford University's School of the Arts will offer performances by an ensemble, a guitar duo, a pianist and a violinist.

The ensemble eighth blackbird opens the series Tuesday, Sept. 22. Described by The New Yorker as "friendly, unpretentious, idealistic and highly skilled," the sextet offers its audiences new sounds and engaging performances. The Grammy Award winners commissioned and recorded Steve Reich's 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Double Sextet."

Guitarists Mark Godwin and Robert Thompson will perform Tuesday, Nov. 10. Since forming in 1992, the Nashville-based duo has displayed extraordinary flexibility and musicianship in appearances throughout the U.S. Godwin holds a degree in guitar performance from Samford.

Italian pianist Roberto Plano will perform Friday, Feb. 12, 2010. Winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition and a finalist in the Van Cliburn and other international competitions, he will play as the final event in Samford's Morris Piano Competition.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform Tuesday, April 27. Named BBC's young musician of the year in 2004, Benedetti has wowed audiences and critics with her virtuosity and musicianship. Her 2010 schedule includes concerts with major symphonies in Europe, Asia and the U.S. before performing at Samford where she will also lead master classes.

All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Samford's Brock Recital Hall. Season tickets are $75 adult, $60 senior adult (55-plus), and $40 student/child.

The Davis series season ticket, says Samford School of the Arts dean Joseph Hopkins, "is the best price in town."

"And Jane Hollock Brock Hall is the perfect place to enjoy an evening of chamber music. Each concert is followed by a reception where our guests can meet the artists," said Hopkins.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.