Leah Forbus
Staff Writer

This Tuesday the Cultural Attractions Committee, host of past events like the Umbilical Brothers and the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra, will present an incredibly talented duo: Chris Thile, mandolin player of the popular bluegrass band Nickel Creek, and Edgar Meyer, accomplished composer and classical bassist. They are scheduled to perform together at the James R. Cox Auditorium Jan. 30.
Thile and Meyer are rare musicians.
As a composer and arranger, Meyer’s diverse work has earned him a great deal of respect and admiration in both groups. An Oak Ridge native, Meyer studied at Indiana University and has recorded with countless musicians, such as Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor and Alison Krauss. He is renowned for his technicality and innovation as displayed on his recordings of Bach’s “Cello Suites” played on the bass. Also a composer, Meyer has written two bass concertos, a double concerto for bass and cello and a violin concerto. He’s earned several Grammy Awards and was even named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002.
Thile, whose most recent album, “How to Grow a Woman from the Ground,” released in September of 2006, has been playing the mandolin since he was five years old. He has won several awards for his talent, and he currently holds a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his tune “The Eleventh Reel.” The compositions on his recent album combines his love for traditional bluegrass with a new-age flavor to form a new genre dubbed “newgrass.” Having recorded with musicians like Béla Fleck and Dolly Parton, Thile is regarded as one of today’s best mandolin players.
Together, Meyer and Thile seek not only to enrapture listeners but also to teach them about the art of music; the blend of their distinct musical personalities is exceptional. The concert is an exciting opportunity of which all students can take advantage.
“This concert is partially funded by activity fees that are included in tuition, so students should come enjoy what they helped finance,” Laurel Gilmer, chair of CAC and a junior in marketing, said.
Gilmer added that the musicians were excited about visiting the University of Tennessee.
“Initially, they sent us their press kit and we said ‘Yeah, of course, we’d love to bring them here,’” she said.
As the word spreads, students are becoming more excited.
“Bluegrass in general is high-energy, so with talented musicians like Thile and Meyer, I think it’s going to be difficult to sit still,” said Emily Steffan, vice-chair of CAC and a junior majoring in history and global studies.
Students can purchase tickets at the UT Central Ticket Office with a valid student ID for $5 or at the door on Tuesday night. The concert begins at 7:30 in the James R. Cox Auditorium, located in Alumni Memorial Building.