Recent News at Kluge-Ruhe

William Barton to Perform with CHS Orchestra • Wednesday February 5, 2014

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will bring internationally acclaimed composer and musician William Barton to Charlottesville for several special performances including a concert with Charlottesville High School students.

William Barton is Aboriginal man from Mount Isa in northwestern Queensland, Australia. For over twenty years he has practiced as a performer of the extended technique of the didjeridu. Barton has toured internationally since age fifteen as a soloist and in collaboration with traditional dance groups, fusion rock and jazz bands, orchestras, string quartets and mixed ensembles. He plays electric or acoustic guitar simultaneously with the didjeridu in a style he calls “didge-fusion.” Highlights of Barton’s career include performing at Carnegie Hall with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, presenting a private concert to Queen Sofia of Spain, and composing and performing a world premiere of new work with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Sydney Opera House. Most recently, his album Kalkadungu was named best classical album by ARIA in 2012.

The didjeridu is a wind instrument originated by Australian Aboriginal people, and was traditionally played in tandem with ceremonial dancing and singing. While the instrument is played widely for recreational purposes today, Barton aspires “to create a journey for people through music, to present a diversity in musical styles with the didjeridu, and to engage with audiences about the uniqueness of Australia.” He adds, “It has been a specific passion of mine to work closely with classical music and composers to develop and sustain music for the didjeridu in this environment.”

On February 19th, William Barton will perform with the Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble, led by Laura Mulligan Thomas, at U.Va.’s Culbreth Theatre at 7 pm. CHSO String Ensemble has garnered a national reputation for excellence, consistently winning top prizes at music festivals all over the country. Tickets are $10 regular admission, $5 for museum members, and free for all students. They can be purchased at the U.Va. Arts Box Office website, by calling (434) 924-3376, or by emailing

On February 22nd, Barton will perform with a group of University of Virginia students comprising the U.Va. McIntire String Quartet as part of TEDxUVA.

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