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KNOXVILLE — Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the “New World” and the ensuing age of exploration and colonialism helped bring new influences to the traditional music prevalent in Europe during the medieval and Renaissance eras.

During Columbus Day week, two performances by the Boston Camerata — distinguished visiting artists in residence at the University of Tennessee — will demonstrate the blending of cultures in music. Their performances are part of UT’s Medieval and Renaissance Semester.

“The music is a beautiful collaboration that reflects moments of light in the midst of dark cultural encounters,” said Boston Camerata director Joel Cohen.

The Boston Camerata is a world-renowned early music performance group that specializes in music from the medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and early American periods. Since 2001, their body of work increasingly has drawn attention to the rich diversity that cultural exchange brought to the music of the European tradition.

Both events are free and open to the public.

“Nueva España: Close Encounters in the New World” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the UT Music Hall. The Boston Camerata will be joined by the Haitian choir Les Fleurs des Caraïbe, which means “The Flowers of the Caribbean.” The concert will include African dialects and rhythms, Caribbean and indigenous sounds and a Mexican flavor.

“Singing School: A Celebration of American Folk Hymnody” will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 in the annex of the Emporium Center for Arts and Culture in downtown Knoxville at 100 S. Gay St.

The events of the day will highlight traditional American hymns, many of which have their roots in medieval and Renaissance music, as well as uniquely American styles of teaching and singing such music. The morning session will feature the Boston Camerata under the musical direction of Cohen, performing the New England style. After lunch, regional groups will demonstrate the various Southern and Appalachian traditions, followed by a group sing.

For more information about the Boston Camerata, visit


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,

Robert Bast, director of the Marco Institute, (865) 974-1859,