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Husson University’s Gracie Theatre Opens Season with East Meets West-ish

Published on: October 27, 2021

Chee Yun on the left holding an instrument and Mak Grgic on the right holding an instrument

BANGOR, MAINE – The Gracie Theatre proudly opens their 2021-22 Bangor Savings Bank season on Sunday, October 17, 2021 with “East Meets West-ish.” The musical duo of violinist Chee-Yun and guitarist Mak Grgic creates a concert that celebrates both of their unique cultural heritages. Compositions by Mancini, Gershwin, Bartok, Tchaikovsky and others are part of this diverse program.

“It’s both exciting, and uncommon, to find a string duo featuring violin and guitar. This is a great opportunity for the Greater Bangor area to experience this fantastic program,” said Jeri Misler, managing artistic director of the Gracie Theatre. “I’m hoping students of guitar and violin will take advantage of this concert, which is free to students under 18 years of age!” 

The afternoon “East Meets West-ish” program offers a vast array of composers and compositions. Included in the afternoon concert are dance compositions from Piazzolla’s “Selections from the ‘History of Tango,’” and Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances.” Contemporary and classical offerings will feature Mancini’s “Moon River,” “Three Preludes” by Ira Gershwin, as well as Tchaikovsky’s “Melody.”

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone, and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic, and deeply passionate about her art, she has performed with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors. Orchestral highlights include her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, tours of Japan with the NHK Symphony, a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national television, and a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Avery Fisher Hall.

Not only is the violinist a legend, but so is her violin. Chee-Yun plays the Stradivarius “Ex-Strauss” (Cremona, 1708), which is on loan through the generous efforts of the Samsung Foundation of Culture of Korea and the Stradivari Society of Chicago, Illinois. Her 349-year-old instrument has an astounding look, sound and history. According to legend, her beloved Stradivarius spent 200 years buried in a previous owner’s vault.

Touted as a “gifted young guitarist” by The New York Times, and “a guitarist to keep an eye on” by the Washington Post, Mak Grgic [GER-gich] is a star on the worldwide stage as well. His expansive and adventurous repertoire attests to Grgic’s versatility and wide-ranging interests. From the ethnic music of his native Balkans to the extreme edge of avant-garde and microtonal music, Grgic’s roles as a soloist, collaborator, and recording artist are fueled by curiosity, imagination, and boundless energy. As a testament to his versatility and wide-ranging appeal, Grgic was invited by legendary singer-songwriter k.d. lang to perform as the opening act for the North American leg of her 2018 Ingénue Redux Tour.

Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1987, Grgic studied guitar in Zagreb at the Elly Basic Music Academy. By the age of 14, he was balancing his world champion status in karate with his love for the guitar. Throughout his high school years, he performed in Ljubljana and Zagreb. Besides playing the guitar at public performances in these cities, he also competed in professional martial arts contests across Europe and Asia. Following an injury to his left thumb, he made the decision to focus solely on a career in music, going on to complete a bachelor’s degree at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

Pursuing advanced studies in the U.S., Grgic was one of the first students to apply to the USC Thornton’s new arts leadership graduate program, which he incorporated into his doctoral studies in guitar. In the fall of 2017, he began the artist diploma program at USC. He was the first guitarist in the university’s history to be admitted to this elite program.

The program for “East Meets West-ish” includes the following musical selections:

  • Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances”
  • Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen”
  • Piazzolla’s “Selections from the ‘History of Tango’”
  • Tadic’s “Four Macedonian Pieces, Pajdushka, Jovka Kumanovka, and Gajdarsko Oro”
  • Trad’s “Two Slovenian Songs”
  • Kreisler’s “Recitativo and Scherzo”
  • Tchaikovsky’s “Melody”
  • De Falla’s “Suite Populaire Espagnole”
  • Mancini’s and Turcanu’s “Moon River”
  • Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”

Tickets for the concert are $15.00-$20.00 and are available by going to theatre’s website at https://www.gracietheatre.com or by calling the box office at 207.941.7888. All students 18 and under will be admitted free with purchase of one adult ticket. Current students are free with college I.D. The Gracie Theatre is located at One College Circle in Bangor, Maine. 

The Gracie’s season is made possible with support from Bangor Savings Bank. The theatre also gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided throughout the season by additional show sponsors including Downeast Toyota, Governor’s Restaurant and Bakery, the Mimi Foundation and Pepsi.

Completed in October of 2009, The Gracie is Husson University's center for the fine and performing arts. This beautiful 500-seat theatre is considered one of Maine’s premier performance venues. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics.

For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to an analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

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