Thomas EcholsOur literature-inspired summer series, narratives, explores the themes of beginning, middle, and end through three unique concert events taking place the evenings of June 25, July 9, and July 30 at the Blanton Museum Auditorium. We’ve asked Guest Artistic Director Thomas Echols to share some insights about his inspiration and vision.


Music is all around us and is present in all world cultures, yet it seems such a strange means of conveyance. How is it that something can be so meaningful and yet be so elusive at the same time? What is it that speaks in sound without speech?

There is this mystery in musical utterance. There is an otherness and a familiarity all at once. There is something at once universal and intimately personal. And there are narratives that unfold as we follow organized sound through time.

When Matthew Hinsley and Austin Classical Guitar asked me to direct this summer’s concert series, my mind exploded with possibilities. In the conversations that followed, it quickly became evident that we were conceiving something so rich in reference, solely through the performance itself, that there would be no need for program notes, a preconcert lecture, or other such devices. We hope to make something experiential; something that draws a person in – invites and emboldens a multitude of interpretations from the listener; something that revels in this truth: that everyone, regardless of how experienced they are in a particular musical tradition, hears music “correctly.”

We hope to make something that celebrates the musicality of the spoken word as well as the narrative capacity of music.

narratives is an exploration of the common ground shared between music and literature. It is also rumination on how meaning is established. narratives, an interdisciplinary forayfeaturing solo works, chamber music, literary readings, visual projections, and experimental electronic music, divides into three parts: persona [beginning], process [middle], and nocturne [end]. Each concert has its own theme that is explored through various paths, and each concert is part of a greater thematic whole. Rather than have these themes explicated in a written concert program, there will be an interconnectivity emerging from the patterns found within the concert itself. Imagine an immersion rather than an explanation.

Above all else, narratives is an exploration of this marvelous meta-language that is music.

Dr. Thomas Echols
Classical Guitarist