Friends of Music Concerts -- St. Louis
Free music concert series


The February concert will feature a lyric soprano and a classical guitarist.

You will have a treat if you attend the Friends of Music Concerts program on February 4, 2018 at Eliot Unitarian Chapel. From 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm you will hear Brittany Graham, accompanied by pianist Nathan Coleman, and guitarist, W. Mark Akin. Brief bios for these artists follow:

Brittany Graham is a lyric soprano originally from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Ms. Graham graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2015 with her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. During her time at Southeast, she played the title of Puccini's Suor Angelica and The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Ms. Graham is currently in her last year at Webster University for her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance. During her time in St. Louis Brittany has performed the roles of Agathe (Der Freischütz) and Musetta (La Bohème), has sung with soprano Christine Brewer, and was awarded the Encouragement Award from the St. Louis Region Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions.

Pianist Nathan Coleman chose piano lessons over a new kitty when only six years old; he got the kitty later anyway. At age sixteen, he performed for his first paying gig with a broken left wrist. He was twice a selected performer at the Piano Texas Academy on the TCU campus in Ft. Worth. Nathan was awarded multiple scholarships during his undergraduate studies at Webster University with Daniel Schene – including the prestigious Buder Foundation Scholarship, the Sister Alice Eugene Tighe Music Scholarship, and the Peggy Fossett Endowed Scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors for both degrees awarded – Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish.

Nathan spent the summer of 2016 in Spain at the Archivo General de Indias researching the trans-Atlantic export of early keyboard instruments from Europe to the New World. He currently studies with Nina Ferrigno as he pursues a graduate degree. Nathan is an active member of the Saint Louis Classical Underground and performs in solo and chamber recitals across the region. Since 2014, he and violinist Neil Zundel perform regularly as the piano/violin ensemble Duo Laberinthe.

Award-winning classical guitarist W. Mark Akin is a St. Louis based musician who has engaged audiences across the country with his dynamic on-stage presence and musicality.

Mark has won prizes in numerous competitions such as the Wilson Center Guitar Competition in Wisconsin, Beethoven Club Competition in Memphis, the University of Arizona's Beeston Competition and Sholin Competition, and was most recently selected as a winner of the Artist Presentation Society of St Louis Competition.

Originally from Tennessee Mark started his guitar studies by learning to play electric hard rock, idolizing guitarists such as Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Eddie Van Halen. After discovering the classical guitar in high school, he then decided to study the instrument full-time and subsequently received his bachelor's and master's degrees in guitar performance from Belmont University in Nashville, and the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has performed in master classes and taken lessons with some of the greatest guitarists in the world, namely Sergio and Odair Assad, Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, and Jason Vieaux, Olivier Chassain, Marcin Dylla, and Adam Holzman.

An active teacher, Mark has taught innumerable private lessons, been an educator for the non-profit Lead Guitar program in Arizona, and currently teaches with the St. Louis Guitar Society's Public School Guitar Initiative. This program establishes guitar programs in inner city public schools in the greater St. Louis area.

Mark plays a Michael Gee guitar and D'Addario strings.

# # Written by fomcstl on Thursday January 18, 2018
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