Zuill Bailey and his 323-year-old cello turn up in cities all over the country. But since he took over as artistic director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival in 2011, he says Alaska has begun to feel like home. He now spends more than four months a year here.

In September, he came to Anchorage to head up the festival’s Autumn Classic Series, which features Bailey and some of the performers from the summer concert series in Sitka.

Bailey said he loves to bring live performances to audiences across the state. One of his trips took him to the North Slope to play for oil workers.

“They reacted like I showed them the sun,” Bailey said. “I see how music changes lives – spiritually, physically. People relax. It gives them hope.”

Aside from playing concerts, Bailey spends a lot of time promoting the art of live performance. His mission: to build audiences for classical music.

But as electronic recordings become the increasingly preferred musical experience, Bailey has his work cut out for him.

He reminds audiences that a live concert is unique – never to be repeated again.

“Just be in the moment,” Bailey said. “Pinch yourself — that you’re actually there. Listen. That it is just for you at that very moment.”

Audiences will have a chance to be in the moment this Saturday with an Autumn Classics concert at the University of Alaska Anchorage Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m., as well as a matinee on Sunday at 4 p.m.

There is also a free, family-friendly “Informance” on Saturday at 10 a.m., also at the UAA Recital Hall. Artists will give a preview of their concerts and share some history of the music. The audience is invited to ask questions.

Editor’s Note: This week’s Frontiers program features Zuill Bailey. He tells the story of his cello and the unusual way in which he came to own it. Frontiers airs on KTVA Channel 11 on Sunday at 4:30 and 10:30 pm.

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