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Ole Miss to host evening of words and music at Nutt Auditorium

By Kelley Norris

University of Mississippi

Conservationist and philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. and longtime friend and pianist Bruce Levingston, Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, are teaming up onstage this week for an evening of words and music.

The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nutt Auditorium. Limited seating is available by calling Penny Leeton at 662-915-7266.

Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., serves as director of Rockefeller & Co. and formerly served as board chair of the Rockefeller Foundation, recognized for promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world since 1913. He is a leading conservationist of the world’s ocean and water resources and an avid sailor.

Also a passionate supporter of music, Rockefeller has sung as a chorister with Boston’s Cantata Singers for more than 40 years. His most recent performances have focused on narration, performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Lexington Symphony, and the Handel and Haydn Society.

Rockefeller will combine his love of sailing and song as he and Levingston perform Tennyson’s poem, “Enoch Arden,” the heartbreaking love story of a sailor lost at sea, set to music by Richard Strauss.

Rockefeller said he is looking forward to both his visit and his performance with Levingston.

“Mississippi has produced many wonderful artists, writers and musicians, including my good friend Bruce Levingston,” Rockefeller said. “I am eager to get to know this unique state.”

Levingston was named the inaugural recipient of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, which was made possible by a generous gift by Lester “Ruff” Glenn Fant III. Fant made the gift in memory of his father and grandfather. Fant and Rockefeller, graduates of the same law school class of the Harvard Law School, are also friends.

Levingston said he is pleased to introduce Rockefeller to Mississippi, adding to a growing list of prominent figures he has brought to the university, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and international ballet dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo.

“David Rockefeller and his remarkable family have been inspiring global leaders in philanthropy, conservation and medical research for well over a century,” Levingston said. “It is a distinct honor to have this wonderful friend visit our state and our beloved university.”