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Indigo Girls Join the UGA Symphony Orchestra for Sold-Out Concerts

"The Indigo Girls revisit, refresh, and revive their catalog by challenging their fans to join them in breaking new ground.”—Creative Loafing on Indigo Girls with orchestra

Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., Indigo Girls will give sold-out performances at Hodgson Concert Hall with the UGA Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mark Cedel. These performances follow the prominent use of their best-known song, “Closer to Fine,” in the international smash-hit film Barbie.

Released in 1989, Indigo Girls’ eponymous major label debut sold over two million copies under the power of singles “Closer to Fine” and “Kid Fears” and turned Indigo Girls into one of the most successful folk duos in history. Over a 35-year career that began in clubs around their native Atlanta, the multi-Grammy-winning duo of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray has recorded 16 studio albums, sold over 15 million records, and built a dedicated, enduring following across the globe. Rolling Stone describes them as the “ideal duet partners.”

Beginning in 2012, Indigo Girls embarked on a bold new chapter, collaborating with musical arrangers Sean O’Loughlin (Chris Isaak, Feist, The Decemberists) and Stephen Barber (Rosanne Cash, Alejandro Escovedo, John Legend) to prepare larger-than-life arrangements of their songs to perform with orchestras around the country. The duo found an elusive sonic sweet spot with the project, creating a seamless blend of folk, rock, pop, and classical that elevated their songs to new heights without scarifying any of the emotional intimacy and honesty that have defined their music for decades.

In 2018, these arrangements became available as Indigo Girls Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra, a 2-CD set and 3-LP package through Rounder Records. Recorded in front of a sold-out audience in Boulder, CO, and mixed by Grammy winner Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris), the record showcases Indigo Girls at their finest. Spanning material from throughout their over three-decade career, the 22-song set features a mix of reimagined classics, and unexpected deep cuts.


The origins of the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra can be traced back to 1941 when Hugh Hodgson conducted the University Little Symphony Orchestra. He led this ensemble until 1950.

The present conductor, Mark Cedel, joined the faculty in September 1994. During his tenure the orchestra played the inaugural concert in Hodgson Hall in November 1995. In April 1996 the orchestra participated in the UGA Performing Arts Center’s inaugural gala week with a performance of the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of Yoel Levi, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra has performed more than 200 times on the stage of Hodgson Concert Hall.


Mark Cedel brings a wealth of professional experience to his position as director of orchestral activities. The 2023-24 academic year marks his 30th year at UGA. Prior to his appointment, he was associate conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. In his four seasons with that orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances, appearing on every series offered by the ensemble.

Cedel has been associated with many orchestras in the southeast. This includes serving as principal viola of the South Carolina Chamber Orchestra and the guest principal viola of the Savannah Symphony, and orchestras in Augusta, Macon, and Jacksonville.

Cedel earned a Bachelor of music degree in viola performance from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of Joseph de Pasquale, and studied chamber music with members of the Guarneri Quartet, Budapest Quartet, and Beaux Arts Trio. He holds a Master of music degree in conducting from the North Carolina School of the Arts.

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