Musician to play classical pieces arranged for banjo

John Bullard is a classically trained musician and the first graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music to earn a degree in performance with the banjo.

GRANTSVILLE — Music at Penn Alps will present John Bullard, playing classical music arranged for banjo and accompanied on piano by Markus Compton, July 6 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at Spruce Forest Artisan Village, U.S. Route 40. 

As a classically trained musician and the first graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music to earn a degree in performance with the banjo, Bullard understands that accepting instrument into the classical fold is a challenging proposition for traditionalists. 

Bullard has toured and performed throughout the United States. He has produced three album-length recordings.

Bullard’s concert repertoire includes solo, duet, and quartet performances of works from Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and others of the Baroque Period, along with later-period pieces by Schumann and others. More recently, Bullard has begun featuring new work by contemporary American composers, including a Caprice in D minor in the Romantic style, from composer Frank Mullen, and a set of 24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, commissioned from Adam Larrabee, which the composer says “showcases the instrument’s versatility and capability in all keys as well as the breadth of tonal palette and timbres each key has to offer.” In addition, Bullard is now working on a new collaboration with the genre-fusing composer Joshua Stamper.

Compton has been the artistic director of the Richmond Choral Society since 2004. He holds degrees in music education and piano accompanying from George Mason University. He has also served as the assistant conductor and pianist for the Fairfax Choral Society and pianist for the National Men’s Chorus.

Tickets are available at the door, in the gift shop at Penn Alps Restaurant, or online at www.musicatpennalps.org/tickets. Audience members 19 years old and younger are admitted free.

For more information, visit musicatpennalps.org or call Joe McDaniel, president of Music at Penn Alps, at 301-895-5801.

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