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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee’s Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will host its fourth annual symposium Feb. 24 and 25, 2005.

This year the focus will be “Interactions and Images: Cultural Contacts Across Eurasia 600-1600.”

“Our goal with the symposium is to bring some of the best scholars and the timeliest research to UT so students and the larger Knoxville community can learn from experts in a variety of fields,” Dr. Robert Bast, director of the Marco Institute, said.

The symposium lectures will feature speakers from around the world who will talk about a variety of time periods and cultures, geographic regions, religions and cultures.

All lectures will be held in Hodges Library Auditorium. They are free and open to the public.

The symposium will feature performances by the Boston Camerata at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the James R. Cox Auditorium in Alumni Memorial Building.

Thursday’s performance entitled “Sacred Bridge” is a blend of Christian, Jewish and Muslim music from the Middle Ages.

Friday’s program, “New Britain,” showcases the medieval roots of American folk songs.

“There is such a strong Scotch-Irish tradition in the Southeast and a great deal of the musical heritage of hymns,” Bast said, “as well as popular music such as bluegrass, actually has roots in the tradition of medieval popular music.”

Founded in 1954, the Camerata performs music from Europe and America during the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. The group has been under the direction of Joel Cohen since 1968.

Tickets for the Boston Camerata are $20 general admission, $10 for UT faculty and staff, and $5 for UT students and children under 14.

“The Middle Ages and the Renaissance were far more global than people understand or recognize,” Bast said.

“And we want to emphasize and illustrate the cultural contacts that took place across a broad expanse of the globe.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Marco Institute a $3 million challenge grant in 2003 to establish an institute for Medieval and Renaissance studies at UT.

“The purpose of the Institute is to promote academic excellence in these important areas of teaching, research and public service,” Bast said.

“At Marco we focus on issues that have contemporary significance and importance, not just the history itself.”

For more information and a complete list of speakers visit http://web.utk.edu/~marco.