Melony Dodson

Morning Concert Host/Producer

Melony calls the beautiful mountains of Boone, N.C., home, although she was born near Greensboro, N.C. There’s just something about those Blue Ridge Mountains that got in her blood and never left after she moved there to attend Appalachian State University (ASU). While at ASU, she majored in piano performance and music therapy and began to cultivate a love for accompanying and for collaborating with other musicians. This soon led her to earn a master’s degree in collaborative piano at the University of Tennessee, which she attended from 2006-2008.

While a graduate student, she worked at WUOT as a student announcer, hosting Saturday afternoons and evenings. Melony rapidly developed another passion: that of being a radio personality/host. Soon after graduating, she began hosting weekend mornings, including the Early Morning Concert, and produced the highly popular Top 60 for 60, a special series commemorating WUOT’s 60th anniversary. Two years later, she was honored to become the new host of the Morning Concert, of which she is currently the host and producer. Melony is also a choral accompanist for the UT School of Music’s Concert Choir and the Men’s Chorale. In her spare time, Melony loves to music-direct musicals. She is secretly (or perhaps not so secretly!) obsessed with the musicals of Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown. She also loves to travel, cook, hike and explore all of the cultural (and food!) attractions Knoxville has to offer.

Ways to Connect

Cellist, Oliver Coates, is equally at home performing the music of Shostakovich and of Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. An incredibly versatile musician, Coates will perform two sets at this year's Big Ears Festival. One concert will present some of his favorite classical compositions, while on the other, he will perform two of his own albums, including his newest record, Upstepping, which fuses together elements of techno and classical.

Recently deemed "one of the decade's most gifted, up-and-coming modern classical composers" (Pitchfork magazine), Sarah Kirkland Snider's compositions draw from a variety of inspirations: Mozart, Chopin, Arvo Part, and David Lang, to Radiohead and St. Vincent. Sarah's orchestral, chamber, and choral works are critically acclaimed, as are her song cycles, which fuse together her love for both classical and pop/rock influences.

The music of British composer, Gavin Bryars, will be presented at four different concerts at this year's Big Ears Festival. Two of his earliest compositions will be performed: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet and The Sinking of the Titanic. Also being performed is his newest composition, The Fifth Century, which will be presented by the chamber choir, The Crossing, and the Prism saxophone quartet. Additionally, his own ensemble, The Gavin Bryars Ensemble, will be performing for the first time in the United States.

Knoxville-based contemporary music ensemble, Nief-Norf, is presenting not one, but four concerts at this year's Big Ears Festival, including the opening concert at the official launch party.  Joined by special guest, percussionist Greg Stuart, the group will perform music by Michael Pisaro, Michael Gordeon, Pauline Oliveros, and Christopher Burns. Nief-Norf will "set the tone" of the festival by opening (at the launch party) with Oliveros' "Single Strike Roll Meditation," which requires the audience and performers to be fully present and in-the-moment.

Ask someone what their favorite opera is and they're likely to respond with Verdi's La Traviata, and for good reason! Verdi's opera is beautiful, gut-wrenching, and relatable, with an interesting story and complex characters. His score is full of some of the most beautiful and recognizable music in the operatic repertoire. And although Knoxville's opera fans may be familiar with Verdi's opera, they will not be familiar with Marble City Opera's unique presentation of it, which will take place at Historic Westwood, a home in the Sequoyah Hills area of Knoxville.

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