Thomas Burritt to perform Nov. 22 as part of Ouachita’s Guest Artist Series

By MacKenzie Hall 
OBU News Bureau

ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University’s School of Fine Arts will host percussion soloist and concert marimbist Dr. Thomas Burritt on Monday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in McBeth Recital Hall. Burritt will perform as part of Ouachita’s Guest Artist Series and will be joined on stage by the Ouachita Percussion Ensemble. The concert is free and open to the public.  

Burritt has recorded two solo albums, “All Times Identical—New American Music for Marimba” and “Groundlines,” and also has performed on Grammy-nominated recordings “Conspirare Concert” and “Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings.” He earned a Bachelor of Music in education and performance from Ithaca College, a Master of Music degree from Kent State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Northwestern University, and he is director of percussion studies in the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.  

“Dr. Burritt is a world-renowned percussionist and educator who specializes in marimba, so I am excited for him to come to campus, work and perform with our students, and share his talent and musicianship with our campus community,” said Dr. Ryan Lewis, associate professor of music at Ouachita.  

The Percussion Ensemble has prepared two pieces to perform alongside Burritt at the concert, “The Alabados Song” by Paul Bissell and “Grand Valse Brillante” by George Hamilton Green. Lewis said that this groundwork ahead of Burritt’s arrival gave students “a practical, professional, musical skill”: experience in preparing ensemble parts for a guest soloist with whom they will have little rehearsal time in person. 

This year’s ensemble concert is centered on the theme “Other Realms,”encompassing compositions inspired by fantasy, supernatural and spirit worlds. Songs featured in the concert include “Ritual Music” by David Skidmore, “Mitos Brasileiros (Brazilian Myths)” by Ney Rosauro, “Lion Dance” by Brandon Dittgen and “Night Hunter” by James Campbell.  

“Having guest soloists of Dr. Burritt’s caliber on campus serves to inspire our music students to practice, perform and improve their own abilities,” Lewis said. “The percussion ensemble students will gain a great deal of musical skills from preparing and performing these pieces, and the audience will be inspired by both the music and the musicians.”  

The Guest Artist Series brings world-class performers, musicians, art exhibitions and productions to Ouachita to share their talent with the community. 

For information on the concert or Ouachita’s percussion program, contact Dr. Ryan Lewis at 870-245-5421 or email


Jenna Barnes, a junior music industry major from Sheridan, Ark. 
Hunter Bookout, a freshman music industry major from Fayetteville, Ark. 
Collin Clark, a freshman undeclared major from Lonoke, Ark. 
Alexa Copeland, a senior instrumental music education major from Nashville, Ark. 
Nathan Costner, a freshman elementary education major from Fayetteville, Ark. 
Braden Crawley, a senior computer science and music double major from Jonesboro, Ark. 
Jalon Davis, a freshman music major from Little Rock, Ark. 
Caleb Gumm, a freshman instrumental music performance major from Fayetteville, Ark. 
Carly Hall, a sophomore worship arts major from North Little Rock, Ark. 
Caleb Hassell, a senior music industry major from Scroggins, Texas 
Kalel Langford, a freshman secondary education and mathematics double major from Centerton, Ark.
Katie McManus, a freshman instrumental music education major from Buford, Ga. 
Jacob Parks, a freshman music industry and psychology double major from Frisco, Texas 
Andrew Pierce, a sophomore music and biology double major from Benton, Ark. 
Jonathan Sandy, a senior instrumental music education major from El Dorado, Ark. 
Chloe Spraggins, a junior music and graphic design double major from Hot Springs, Ark. 
Micah Terry, a freshman computer science major from Lonoke, Ark. 
Brandon Tullos, a freshman accounting and business administration/management double major from Paris, Texas