Vanderbilt students break classical music conventions

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 26, students will perform at “A Humming Under my Feet” at the Wond’ry.


This interactive event will feature live music and poetry that breaks away from classical style.

Hana Batt and Krista Panageas

Three years ago, Blair student Aislinn Bailie, class of 2019, had the startling realization that after almost two decades of a career in classical music, she had never performed a piece composed by anyone other than a white male. Determined to change this, she put together Vanderbilt’s first concert which attempts to highlight the work of composers underrepresented in concert music programming.  

Over the past few years, the concert has grown into something much bigger than simply playing new music. Current organizer and Blair senior Lila Meretzky describes the purpose of the show as not only to expose musicians to contemporary music and diverse composers, but also to break away from the formality of classical music. 

Last year, the show was held in the Cohen Art Gallery on Commons, and this year, it will be held on Sunday Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Wond’ry. This show is the only one of Blair’s concert series that will not be held in the music school’s performance hall. The high ceilings and central setup of this venue will allow the sound to travel in a different way, creating a unique concert experience for both viewers and performers. 

The concert intends to showcase a blend of contemporary classical music and pop genres which incorporate unconventional performance methods, instruments and a diversity of composers rarely displayed in classical music concerts. It will be a vibrant, artistic display that challenges the traditional concert format. Both the feel and sound of the show will be one of a kind. 

“The show has the purpose of changing who gets heard in concert music and the ‘why’ behind that,” Meretzky said.

The organizers aim to create a space for creativity and diversity in genre historically dominated by white males. The show is meant to be engaging, informal and interactive for the audience. 

“People may or may not like what they hear, but they will definitely hear something they have never heard before,” Meretzky said.

Besides a blend of pop songs, unique instruments and diverse compositions, there will also be video productions played to match the music, opportunities for audience participation and spoken word pieces written and performed to align with the chosen pieces.

If you are looking for a fun and eye-opening way to earn GME credit, come to the Wond’ry at 7 p.m. this Sunday for “A Humming Under my Feet.”