New Faculty, Old Friends Set to Share the Stage Sunday

First of two weekend recitals in a row scheduled for Nutt Auditorium

Flutist Nave Graham (left) and oboist Austin Smith – friends since graduate school – are performing their first joint recital as faculty members in the UM Department of Music. They will perform a variety of contrasting works at 3 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 9) in Nutt Auditorium. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Two new members of the University of Mississippi music faculty – old friends, actually – are teaming with a faculty pianist to create a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon: a recital of beautiful chamber music at 3 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 9) in Nutt Auditorium.

Flutist Nave Graham and oboist Austin Smith met in graduate school at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the two remained friends during their busy professional careers and continued academic work. Then last summer, they both took jobs in the UM Department of Music: Graham as flute instructor, and Smith as oboe instructor.

“I had the idea to do this recital before I even moved here for the job because I knew Nave had also been hired,” Smith said. “It was basically a no-brainer for me.”

“We played together in CCM ensembles and various orchestral gigs throughout the Cincinnati area,” Graham recalled. “While we’ve done chamber music together before, this is definitely the most extensively we’ve played together.”

The program is full of contrasts in style and era, which is apparent in the two pieces for flute and oboe that bookend the recital. The first, composed by Alberto Ginastera, is flashy and fast, and the other, by Andrey Rubtsov, which also includes music faculty member Adrienne Park on the piano, is romantic and free.

“We wanted to do some pieces that featured the flute and oboe together and some pieces that we can do separately, and make sure all of those pieces programmed well together,” Smith said.

Graham will perform a piece for solo flute, by Paul Hindemith, which is a set of eight short pieces.

“Each movement highlights a unique set of skills required of any virtuosic flutist,” Graham said. “I love how each movement is so drastically different from the last. They are also very short pieces, so it’s like eight little bursts of different energies – something like a sampling of flute playing.”

Smith and Park will perform two pieces for oboe and piano, one of which is among Smith’s favorite pieces for oboe. It was written by Francis Poulenc in memory of his friend and fellow composer, Sergei Prokofiev.

“With the piece opening with an elegy and ending with a lament, it’s fairly dark,” Smith said. “But there are definitely some lighter moments scattered throughout.”

The other piece for oboe and piano is by composer Steve Darling, who also wrote it for a friend: Austin Smith.

“Steve and I were roommates when we were in school together at CCM,” Smith said. “He wrote his piece, ‘canopy, from below,’ for me this past fall.” Smith premiered the work in November as a guest clinician at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where Darling teaches.

“Nave and Austin are already contributing so much to the department, and I’m looking forward to Sunday’s recital,” said Nancy Maria Balach, interim chair of the Department of Music. “The fact that they have a history of performing together and an established friendship will make this recital even more interesting.” 

Sunday’s performance is part of the music department’s Faculty Recital Series. Tickets are $5 for children and Ole Miss students, faculty and staff, and $10 for the general public. They are available at the UM Box Office or at the door.

The timing of the recital makes it convenient for families and music lovers to enjoy, said Amanda Fliflet, who manages recitals and concerts for the music department.

“It allows you to enjoy church, maybe get in a workout and other weekend tasks, while still experiencing some live music,” she said. “Plus, you get home before dark so you can relax and rejuvenate for the week ahead.”

“Sunday at 3:00 is actually an ideal day and time for a recital, especially to see these two wonderful performers.”

Next Sunday (Feb. 16), the Department of Music will host a guest artist for another 3 p.m. recital. Pianist Scott Correll will present a program that includes work by Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy, Noel Gallon and Germaine Tailleferre. Admission is free.

More Sunday afternoon recitals are slated for March 22 and 29, and April 5 and 19. Full details of all Ole Miss music events can be found at