Classically trained violinist and singer-songwriter Gaelynn Lea will livestream a free concert of her haunting original songs and her experimental takes on fiddle tunes on Monday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. She will also speak about her life as a touring artist, her new initiatives for disability inclusion in the performing arts, and what she has learned along the way as an independent musician.

This hybrid event is a part of the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts’ “Music on Mondays” concert series. It will be streamed live from the Squires Recital Salon and will be available for simultaneous at-home viewing on YouTube. The free concert will be followed by a Q&A with Lea that will be open to both in-person attendees and viewers participating through the YouTube chat. Elizabeth McLain, an instructor of musicology in the School of Performing Arts, will moderate. The entire event will be closed-captioned.

Lea won NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2016. Since then, she has performed more than 600 shows in 45 states and 9 countries. She has appeared in several major festivals, including SXSW and Winnipeg Folk Festival. Lea has opened for well-known bands such as Wilco, The Decemberists, LOW, and the industrial rock supergroup Pigface. She has also shared her perspective as a disabled musician and activist on “PBS NewsHour,” “On Being with Krista Tippett,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “NowThis,” and “The Science of Happiness Podcast,” and through two widely viewed TEDx Talks.

“I am so excited to be performing virtually for the Virginia Tech community,” Lea said, “not only to play my music, but also to have an honest conversation afterward about why authentic representation of disability in the media matters, and how we can all work together to amplify disabled voices and celebrate Disability Culture.”

Lea is currently creating original music for a Broadway production of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga. This iconic Shakespeare play is being directed by Sam Gold and opens in April 2022 at The Lyceum Theatre in New York City. Lea is also working on a memoir about her childhood in northern Minnesota, touring adventures, and disability advocacy.

This recital has been made possible by a National Science Foundation grant, “Disability, Experience, and Technological Imagination.” The grant was awarded to Ashley Shew, an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Click here for more information. View more School of Performing Arts events here.

The School of Performing Arts acknowledges the support of the Main Street Inn and the Inn at Virginia Tech, the hotel sponsors for the school’s “Music on Mondays” series and Visiting Artist Series.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Susan Sanders at at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Written by Susan Sanders