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April 2024 Free Events at Duke University



Duke University building

April at Duke is full of vibrant free events, adding color beyond just the blossoming flowers. From concerts featuring jazz legends to gardening sessions and relaxing moments listening to the Chapel bells. There’s a wide array of free and enjoyable activities to experience on campus this month.

April 7 – Collaboration of Ciompi Quartet and Min Xiao-Fen

Ciompi Quartet is performing with Min Xiao-Fen at free event.
The Ciompi Quartet, will perform with special guest Min Xiao-Fen at free event.

On Sunday, April 7th, at 4 p.m., Duke’s Ciompi Quartet will perform with Min Xiao-Fen at the Baldwin Auditorium stage. Min, who received classical training in China, is a renowned vocalist, composer, and player of the pipa. Pipa is a traditional Chinese instrument with four strings. The performance, which will be livestreamed, will showcase three pieces specifically composed for string quartets and the pipa.

April 14 – Nasher Museum Family Day

People are enjoying Nasher Museum in the university at free event.
Visitors encounter wildlife at the Nasher Family Day at free event.

The Nasher Museum of Art is inviting everyone to join in celebrating Earth Day through art on monthly Family Day. Visitors can let their creativity flow by making art with recycled materials provided by the Scrap Exchange. They’ll also have the chance to interact with live animals from the Piedmont Wildlife Center and meet artists who use unconventional materials in their work. The free events are open to the public and takes place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

April 14 – Mary Lou Williams: Jazz’s Leading Lady Honored

Our First Lady of Jazz shared of love by students at free event.
Mary Lou Williams shared her love of music with Duke students at free event.

Mary Lou Williams, a renowned pianist and composer, worked alongside jazz legends like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, leaving behind an unforgettable musical legacy. During her time at Duke from 1977 until her passing in 1981, she served as an artist-in-residence, leaving a lasting impact. Today, her legacy lives on through the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture on campus.

On Sunday, April 14th, at 4 p.m., there will be a celebration of Williams and her music at Duke University Chapel. As part of Duke’s Centennial festivities, the free events will feature performances by the Duke Chapel Choir, the North Carolina Central Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and various guest artists, playing Williams’ compositions and other pieces that inspired her.

The night before, on Saturday, April 13th, at 8 p.m., the Duke Wind Symphony will present the debut of Williams’ final unfinished work in a free performance at Baldwin Auditorium.

April 26 – Duke Campus Farm Community Work day

Farm community is working in Duke's Farm at free event.
Volunteers get their hands dirty at Duke Campus Farm’s Community Work Days at free event.

On Friday, April 26th, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Duke Campus Farm invites everyone to join their community work day. Volunteers can work alongside the farm’s student crew and experience sustainable agriculture hands-on. While everyone is welcome, it’s advisable to sign up in advance.

Later that day, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., you can relax at the Duke Campus Farm during the Land and Listen event. Enjoy some environmental poetry and take in the peaceful atmosphere of the one-acre farm in Duke Forest.


And don’t miss the Spring Contra Dance happening on Friday, April 12th, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Duke Campus Farm. There will be delicious food, lively dancing, and live fiddle music. Visit their website for more details.

April 28 – Bell Concert at Abele Quad

Duke Chapel Carillon Recital will ring on free event in April .
Hear the music of Duke Chapel’s 50 bells on April 28 at free event.

Grab a blanket and come over to Abele Quad for a special concert featuring the bells from Duke University Chapel! Happening on Sunday, April 28th, from 5 to 6 p.m., this concert is part of the J. Samuel Hammond Carillon Recital Series. You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful music played by Jonathan Lehrer, a carillonneur from Michigan State University, on Duke’s 50-bell carillon. It’s going to be a lovely evening filled with enchanting melodies.

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