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Brevard Music Center – A Brief History of BMC

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Brevard Music Center is, at once, a place, a summer institute, and a festival.

The Music Center is situated on a wooded 180-acre campus in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Founded in 1936, the Music Center has matured into one of this country’s premier summer training programs and festivals. More than 400 gifted students, ages 14 through post-college, come to the Music Center to study with members of a distinguished artist faculty and with renowned guest artists. For seven weeks, students participate in a vigorous program of instruction that includes ensembles, private lessons, and chamber music.

Brevard’s hallmark is the powerful sense of community that re-emerges every June, as faculty and students work together to present more than 80 concerts to the public. The total audience each summer numbers more than 30,000.

In 1936 James Christian Pfohl opened a summer band camp for boys on the campus of Davidson College in North Carolina. Fifty young instrumentalists appeared for that first session. In 1945 Pfohl moved his camp to a beautiful site just outside the town of Brevard in Western North Carolina, and the now coeducational Transylvania Music Camp was born.

A few years later, Pfohl established a festival at the camp, and this soon became an integral part of the summer activities. The name was changed to “Brevard Music Center” in 1955.

In 1965, Henry Janiec succeeded James Christian Pfohl as Artistic Director. Mr. Janiec led the Center for more than thirty years, through the 1996 season. David Effron became Artistic Director in 1997. He will retire after the 2007 season. In 2008 Keith Lockhart becomes Artistic Advisor of the Brevard Music Center.

For decades the Brevard Music Center has inspired devotion not only among its students and faculty but also among its listeners and among a vast corps of volunteers. That hundreds of persons have purchased homes in western North Carolina expressly to be near the Brevard Music Center gives some measure of the Center’s significance to its community.