Musers & Performers

Performances are an integral part of the Tennessee Arts Academy experience. From the opening Overture Celebration to the final Finale Luncheon, a diverse group of artists and performing groups are featured at every Arts Academy event. Regional theatre, dance and music soloists and ensembles are showcased during a daily thirty-minute presentation in the Massey Performing Arts Center. On Sunday and Wednesday evenings a world-class artist is chosen to perform for TAA participants. The Belmont Mansion tour, the TAA art exhibitions, the TAA Carnival, Vendor Fair and Artist Market, and special event functions each include local artists as part of their program.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2018 Tennessee Arts Academy.

Time for Three
String Trio

July 8 - 4:00 PM
Massey Performing Arts Center


The groundbreaking trio Time for Three (Tf3) transcends traditional classifications and categories by incorporating elements of classical, country western, gypsy, and jazz idioms in their work. The members—violinists Nicolas (Nick) Kendall and Charles Yang and double bassist Ranaan Meyer—bring their passion for improvisation, composing, and arranging to their performances.

To date, the group has performed hundreds of engagements that have been as diverse as its music—from being the featured guest soloists on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s subscription series and playing residencies at the Kennedy Center to performing at Club Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and Christoph Eschenbach’s birthday concert at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany. Recent Tf3 highlights include the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall debut, appearances with the Boston Pops and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, a sell-out concert at the 2014 BBC Proms, and an appearance on the ABC prime time hit show Dancing with the Stars.

Tf3’s high-energy performances are free of conventional practices, drawing instead from the members’ diverse musical backgrounds. The trio also performs its own arrangements of traditional repertoire, with Ranaan Meyer providing original compositions to complement the groups’s offerings.

In 2014, Tf3 released its debut Universal Music Classics album, Time for Three, which spent seven consecutive weeks in the top ten of Billboard Magazine’s classical crossover chart. The ensemble has also embarked on a major commissioning program to expand its unique repertoire for symphony orchestras including Concerto 4-3 by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon; Travels in Time for Three by Chris Brubeck; and Games and Challenges by William Bolcom, which was commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony. The group’s latest project, a three-year residency with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, includes commissions for three new works. Tf3 premiered the first of these works, Elevation: Paradise, in August 2015 and the second, Free Souls, in July 2016.

The ensemble’s television performances include appearances on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and an Emmy-winning show Time for Three in Concert, which premiered on PBS. In 2016, Tf3 traveled throughout Europe as a highlight act of the Night of the Proms tour. 

Two Dance Selections

July 9 - 11:30 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


FALL is a contemporary dance company using all the tools at its disposal to create work that is entertaining and inspiring. The program for the Tennessee Arts Academy will include excerpts from several pieces of work that highlight FALL’s unique blend of floor based movement that seamlessly makes its way off of the ground. Opening their program is a piece by the full company from their most recent concert “FALL. Stand. Learn. Fly.” The piece draws inspiration from a quote by Stephen Sondheim on working with Leonard Bernstein: “I learned a lot about courage. He was never afraid to make big mistakes. He was never afraid to fall off the top rung of the ladder and I learned by implication that the worst thing you can do is fall off a low rung. If you’re gonna make a mistake, make a huge one.” A solo and a quartet from “A Bending of its Own Kind,” which was commissioned by OZ Arts and premiered to a sold-out crowd in June 2017 will complete the program. This work is an exploration of FALL founder Rebekah Hampton Barger’s journey with severe scoliosis and chronic pain that explores the intricate and often-complicated relationships people have with their bodies.

Founded in 2010 and based in Nashville, FALL is a nonprofit contemporary dance company that moves on the ground, in the air, and all the spaces in between, making work that is exciting, unexpected, and blurs the lines between art and life, flying and falling. FALL’s mission is to present high quality contemporary and aerial dance that is accessible to all audiences through performances, community outreach, and artist opportunities. FALL finds and creates places where anything is possible, where the stage and the audience are anywhere and everywhere. 


The Carpetbag Theatre
Between a Ballad and a Blues

July 11 - 11:30 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Between a Ballad and a Blues chronicles the life and work of the African-American-Appalachian Renaissance man Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong and his musical partners, Ted Bogan and Carl Martin. Together, the three men formed one of the most famous string-band groups in the history of American music. As a group and as solo artists, Armstrong, Bogan, and Martin toured the globe sharing string band music with the world and planting the seeds for other American music forms—including country and blues. The play centers on the character of Howard Armstrong and spans his seven-decade musical career. Armstrong narrates the tale, which is augmented with stories and songs from Bogan and Martin. The excerpt that will be performed during TAA is designed for young audiences and features Bert Tanner as Armstrong, music by Sean McCullough, and stories by the playwright Linda Parris-Bailey.

Founded in 1969, the Carpetbag Theatre is a Knoxville-based professional, multi-generational ensemble company dedicated to the production of new and original theatrical works. Carpetbag Theatre works in partnership with community artists, activists, cultural workers, storytellers, and leaders. The company’s mission is to give artistic voice to the issues and dreams of people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. 

Laura Osnes
Dream A Little Dream

July 11 - 8:15 PM
Curb Event Center Arena


The very talented Laura Osnes is one of Broadway’s leading ladies. She recently completed a starring run in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Bandstand for which she received Drama Desk and Drama League nominations.

For her title role as Cinderella in the Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Osnes won the Drama Desk Award and received Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and Astaire nominations. She received another Tony Award nomination for her leading role as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde, after creating the role at Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse. Additional roles she has played include Hope Harcourt in the Tony Award winning revival of Anything Goes, Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center Theater’s production of South Pacific, and Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. Osnes has also performed in Crazy For You, The Blueprint Specials, The Threepenny Opera at the Atlantic Theater Company, and New York’s City Center Encores! She has appeared in productions of The Band Wagon, Randy Newman’s Faust, Pipe Dream, and The Sound of Music in concert at Carnegie Hall. She played in Carousel opposite Steven Pasquale at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in Broadway: Three Generations at the Kennedy Center.

On television, she has been seen on the CBS series Elementary, Live From Lincoln Center: Bernstein On Broadway, and Sondheim: The Birthday Concert. She also appeared in HBO’s documentary Six by Sondheim, the pilot The Miraculous Year, and in the Kennedy Center Honors salutes to Barbara Cook and Dustin Hoffman. Osnes’s many concerts and cabarets include performing with Michael Feinstein, the New York Philharmonic, the New York Pops, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Boston Pops, the San Francisco Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Café Carlyle, 54 Below, Lincoln Center, NJPAC, the Smith Center in Las Vegas, and the Minnesota Orchestra Hall. In addition to appearances on several cast recordings, Osnes has two solo albums—Dream a Little Dream: Live at the Café Carlyle and If I Tell You: The Songs of Maury Yeston. 

Paulo Oliveira
Guitar Concert

July 12 - 11:20 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Paulo Oliveira is an active soloist, chamber musician, arranger, and educator who is equally at ease in the classical, jazz, and commercial worlds. Oliveira’s performance during the Academy will feature diverse musical genres—classical, Latin, and jazz, as well as popular styles. During the concert, Oliveira will be joined by Nashville musicians Todd London on percussion and Roy Vogt on bass. A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Oliveira has taught and performed in South America, Europe, and across the United States. He has won awards in competition both in Brazil and the United States, including the Villa-Lobos Conservatory, and has been awarded full scholarships to attend prestigious international festivals including the Aspen Music Festival. In 2012, he formed the Oliveira-Willett Duo with oboist Dan Willett. Together, they have performed and taught in Brazil, France, and across the United States. The duo’s first recording, Two Hemispheres, features original arrangements of works by American and Brazilian composers, including works by Oliveira himself. Their repertoire exemplifies the contrasts and pairings that are intrinsic to the duo: two generations, two styles, two countries, two cultures, and two hemispheres. Oliveira, who holds numerous academic degrees, recently joined the guitar faculty at Belmont University, where he teaches applied guitar, group seminars, and coaching ensembles.