Monday, March 26, 2018

Glassmaking in Venice


With two degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Samuel Brice Hall serves as the director of investor relations at Piedmont Private Equity in Atlanta, Georgia. In this position, Samuel Brice Hall manages the tax mitigation and conservation strategy projects team and serves as a liaison between investors and third party advisors. Mr. Hall enjoys traveling and has visited Venice, Italy. Arguably one of the most romantic cities in Europe, Venice draws visitors from all over the world.

The city stretches over 118 islands that are connected by a network of 150 canals and nearly 400 bridges. The Grand Canal, the main thoroughfare of the city, cuts through the center of the city and is typically packed with boats full of residents and visitors traveling between islands.

The island of Murano has achieved worldwide fame for its contribution to the glass making industry. Once a major commercial port and trading center, Venice was known for its glass artisans and their skill at the craft. The Venetian glassmaking methods were so sought after that guilds were formed to safeguard industry secrets and to establish important trade regulations. In 1291, all glassmaking foundries were relocated to the island of Murano in order to avoid the outbreak of serious fires in the city of Venice.

For several hundred years, glassmakers in Murano enjoyed a heightened social station and were well respected among all levels of society. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the glass industry enjoyed great popularity, due in part to the newly discovered method of making clear class. The industry then began a slow decline until the old techniques were revived in the mid-1800s.

Murano is once again a renowned center for artisanal glass. Travelers can visit any of several foundries to see glass making demonstrations, and numerous glass shops can be found up and down the streets of the island. The island is also home to the Murano Museum of Glass, a great place to see examples of Venetian glass through the ages.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Renowned Southern Author - Harper Lee


Samuel Brice Hall serves as director of investor relations at Piedmont Private Equity, LLC. Away from his professional responsibilities, Samuel Brice Hall is an avid reader. He regularly rereads To Kill a Mockingbird, the famed novel by Harper Lee.

Harper Lee, who experienced a difficult childhood, developed a liking for English literature in high school. At college, she avoided the traditional female pursuits of fashion and dating, preferring to write and to concentrate on her studies instead. Lee became the editor of the humor magazine of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Her studies ultimately began to compete with her writing for her time. Eventually, once she had figured out where her true passion lay, Lee dropped out. She moved north to pursue her authorial ambitions.

Befriended by a Broadway composer who paid her living expenses for a year, Lee devoted herself to full-time writing. Her manuscript became known as To Kill a Mockingbird. While waiting for its publication, Lee helped her childhood friend, Truman Capote, with research and interviews for a New Yorker article. That article would ultimately grow into his non-fictional book, In Cold Blood.

After it came out, Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize and a number of other awards. The film adaptation won three Oscars. In later years, Lee retired from public life. She made anonymous donations to charities from her substantial wealth. 

In 2015, a pre-Mockingbird novel that a publisher had rejected came to light. It featured the characters from Mockingbird in a period later than that highlighted in the more famous book. After the publication of Go Set a Watchman, its depiction of the character, Atticus Finch, as a racist surprised readers. Nevertheless, Go Set a Watchman broke the pre-sale records of its publisher, HarperCollins. Lee died in her sleep in 2016, aged 89.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Music Director Stepping Down in 2021



An experienced financial executive, Samuel Brice Hall has served as director of investor relations with Piedmont Private Equity since 2011. Outside of his professional endeavors, Samuel Brice Hall regularly supports the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO). 

The 2020-21 season will be the 20th year Robert Spano serves as the ASO's music director, and it will also be his last. In January, Spano announced plans to conclude his lengthy tenure at the Orchestra's helm in three years and assume the position of Conductor Laureate of the ASO. The ASO will celebrate its 75th anniversary during the 2019-20 season, and Spano is only one of four individuals to serve as its music director. 

Since joining the ASO, Spano has been responsible for hiring more than 40 percent of its current members and has mentored multiple assistant directors who have gone on to work as head music directors with organizations such as the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Reno Philharmonic, and Chicago Sinfonietta. He also played a significant role in alleviating the ASO's financial pressures following a pair of work stoppages in 2012 and 2014; along with ASO board member John White, he co-chaired the Musicians' Endowment Campaign, which raised over $27 million toward funding to restore 11 positions in the Orchestra. He also led efforts on six Grammy-Award-winning recordings and earned the American Composers Forum Champion of New Music Award.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Role in Anna Karenina Helped Launch Career of Alicia Vikander


The recipient of a master of science degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina, Samuel Brice Hall serves as director of investor relations with Piedmont Private Equity, where he manages the firm's tax mitigation and conservation strategy. Outside of his professional pursuits, Samuel Brice Hall is an avid reader who recently read several Russian classics, including Anna Karenina. 

A novel written by Leo Tolstoy and published in serial installments between 1873 to 1877, Anna Karenina was adapted for film in 2012 with Keira Knightley playing the titular role. The film also starred Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, and Alicia Vikander, who gained international acclaim through her role of Kitty. Prior to landing the breakthrough role, Vikander had appeared in films such as The Crown Jewels and a Royal Affair and starred in the Swedish TV series Second Avenue. 

Vikander’s career took off following Anna Karenina, as she was cast in films such as The Fifth Estate, Son of a Gun, and Testament of Youth. In 2014, her role in Ex Machina earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. The following year, she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl. Most recently, Vikander was cast to play Lara Croft in a 2018 Tomb Raider remake.