Friends of the College Concert Series

Banks Talley Jr. recalls the numerous world-renowned musical acts who performed on the NC State campus from the 1960s to the 1980s as part of the Friends of the College concert series.

Interview on 2012-10-11


00:00:00.000 We made friends with people in Columbia Artists in New York. They needed a stopping point, as we learned, between sort of-.
00:00:15.950 A lot of things were scheduled, of course, in Washington, some in Richmond, and then Atlanta, and so Raleigh was a good midway.
00:00:30.494 We started the Friends of the College very modestly with I think five, six concerts the first year and went on through it, and we had all the great orchestras, really, of the world.
00:00:48.203 Leonard Bernstein was here with the New York Philharmonic. The guy that was his assistant later on became head of the Philharmonic. We had the Berlin Orchestra.
00:01:07.951 We had an orchestra from France and all the orchestras in the United States, I think maybe all of them, and a lot of the great artists of the day in dance as well as in music, and choral groups.
00:01:31.382 Beverly Sills was one of our great artists, she was a soprano, and Birgit Nilsson was another. She was of Swedish background. I could go on and on, on all that. The Friends of the College was a very exciting experience.
00:02:03.017 We were doing very elementary polls in those days, trying to get student reaction. As students progressed through their undergraduate experience, the attendance of those students increased.
00:02:23.327 At the freshman level it was thin but it had to build, and that's what happened. We had the concerts in the coliseum and we sold tickets all around the communities around Raleigh and busloads of people came in.
00:02:48.009 In those days there would be ten thousand, twelve thousand people, every seat in the coliseum. We had the New York Ballet. They don't do much touring now.
00:03:07.436 At that time the Metropolitan Opera had a smaller sort of introduction unit. We had them. It was really exciting and wonderful to meet all these people.
00:03:26.854 We had Arthur Rubinstein. We had Rudolf Serkin, the pianist, and Savoy. So that was a highlight of my experience at the university.