John Devlin, Conductor


Music for Our Moment

OCTOBER 7 & 8, 2023

Don't miss a thing

Single tickets on sale July 10.


Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
Evan Meier/Christylez Bacon: Migrations in Rhythm: A Concerto for Beatbox and Rhyme        Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte is a Haydn-inspired strings-rich piece that will pull you in. It’s what critic James Bennett called “juicy and ebullient…culminating with a succession of full-bellied chords that I may one day make my ringtone.”

Washington DC native and Duke Ellington School for the Arts alum beatboxer Christylez Bacon has created something totally new with this intersection of symphonic and hip hop tradition. You may have seen this Grammy nominee onstage with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. He says, “The music is the lure and the lyric is the education that will destroy the many barriers that prevent us from recognizing our connections with each other.”

Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich premiered his fifth symphony in 1937 to overwhelming acclaim, with the audience standing to applaud for more than 40 minutes. This darkly dramatic work is the best one to start with if you’re experiencing Shosty (as musicians have nick-named him) for the first time. A simple internet search will reveal more details of the political turmoil surrounding Shostakovich’s previous compositions and the safety he reclaimed after writing this symphony, so do yourself a favor and dig in to what it was like to be an artist in 1930s Leningrad.

Conductor John Devlin is an energetic force in the classical music world. He is an innovator of concert design, an ardent champion of American music, and a proponent of cross-genre collaborations. Currently the Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Devlin is only the ninth conductor in its 90-year history to hold that title. He is thrilled to be visiting Greenville this week, and looks forward to meeting the community and to working with the GSO for the first time.

View John Devlin’s Website

Christylez Bacon (pronounced: chris-styles) is a Grammy Nominated Progressive Hip-Hop artist and multi-instrumentalist from Southeast, Washington, DC. As a performer, Christylez multi-tasks between various instruments such as the West African djembe drum, acoustic guitar, and the human beat-box (oral percussion), all while continuing the oral tradition of storytelling through his lyrics.

With a mission towards cultural acceptance and unification through music, Christylez is constantly pushing the envelope – from performances at the National Cathedral, to becoming the first Hip-Hop artist to be featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, composing and performing with the National Symphony Orchestra and Princeton Symphony Orchestra on multiple occasions, collaborating with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and creating an intentional culture exchange project and subsequent documentary between Washington, DC and Brasilía, Brazil.

In Washington, DC, Christylez began a cross-cultural collaborative concert series, “Washington Sound Museum” (WSM). WSM is a monthly intimate celebration of music featuring guest artists from diverse musical genres with Christylez Bacon and his progressive hip-hop orchestra. Since WSM’s inception, Christylez has collaborated with artists from various cultural backgrounds, ranging from the Hindustani & Carnatic music of India, the contemporary Arabic music of Egypt, and the music of Brazil. At the beginning for the pandemic, Christylez saw this socially-distant period as an opportunity to bring international artists and audiences together in an online video series titled, Beatbox Remix Series, which can be seen on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook Watch.

View Christylez Website


Want to get to know the conductor and learn about the music before you experience it? Join John Devlin and Greenville Symphony Executive Director Jessica Satava for a pre-concert chat about the program.

Don't miss a thing

Single tickets on sale July 10.