In addition to dazzling BYU audiences with world-class performances, stars from BYU Arts’ BRAVO! series have also been enriching BYU students’ education.

“Bringing these performers here to campus serves two purposes,” said Jeff Martin, Arts Manager for the College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC). “We want to give our students the opportunity to learn from these artistic professionals who are actively working in their fields right now and to be entertained by them.”

Audra McDonald spent time coaching BYU students during her visit in September. Photo by Jaren Wilkey.

Audra McDonald spent time coaching BYU students during her visit in September. Photo by Jaren Wilkey.

In September, the BRAVO! series kicked off with a visit from vocalist Audra McDonald for an evening of Broadway and classic songs. McDonald is a five-time Tony Award—winning actress who recently stared in a Broadway production of “Porgy and Bess.”

Prior to her evening of singing, McDonald spent time instructing students. She coached and sang with five singers who had prepared musical selections. Afterward, McDonald mentioned how impressed she was with the students.

World-famous musical composer Frank Wildhorn held a question and answer session with CFAC students. Photo by Nathalie van Empel.

World-famous musical composer Frank Wildhorn held a question and answer session with CFAC students. Photo by Nathalie van Empel.

McDonald wasn’t the only one impressed. Frank Wildhorn, a Grammy and Tony Award nominee, taught two master classes prior to his performance in October. Wildhorn is the composer of several musicals, including “Jekyll and Hyde” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

“The talent here at BYU is immense,” Wildhorn said. “I don’t know if it’s in the water or what.”

Most recently, the CFAC welcomed world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell to perform in the de Jong Concert Hall on campus in November. Prior to his performance, Bell conducted a rehearsal and a question and answer session with students and faculty from the School of Music. About 300 students and faculty attended.

“It gave our students a very rare opportunity to witness Bell and his pianist, Sam Haywood, prepare for their concert later that evening,” Martin said. “Those who attended were inspired to try a little harder to perfect their craft.”

This winter, the BRAVO! series will welcome John Lithgow for an evening of Storytelling. In addition to his performance, Lithgow will also hold a question and answer session with theatre students.

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