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Miami University Symphony Orchestra to perform Pictures at an Exhibition

Mussorgsky composition brings music, visual arts and technology together on stage

MUSO concert posterMiami University Symphony Orchestra will perform their end of semester concert on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Hall Auditorium.

Conducted by Ricardo Averbach, the concert will feature the ensemble performing "Pictures at an Exhibition," written in 1874 by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.

The concert will be a collaboration of Music, Art and Interactive Media Studies as students from each discipline bring a unique aspect to the performance.

Students from Miami's Department of Art will produce paintings to reflect their personal interpretation of the music performed by the orchestra and audience members will be able to view their creations. These original works will be available for purchase following the concert in the lobby of Hall Auditorium.

Occurring simultaneously will be the premiere performance of the Ravel version of the music synchronized with a movie based on a new series of paintings by Russian artist, Natasha Turovsky. The works will be synchronized with the orchestra using a new type of software called Muséik. An IMS student who will be seated with the orchestra, will work with the software to produce a special animation to be displayed during the performance.

Additional selections on the program include, "Music for Eighteen Winds" by John Harbison and "Suite for Strings" by John Rutter.

The concert is sponsored by Miami’s Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Tickets are $7 adult; $5 students/seniors and can be purchased at the Miami University Box office or from the online ticket office.

About the Music

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is subtitled “A Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann,” a suite of ten pieces plus a recurring promenade written originally for piano. The composer was deeply infatuated with the painter Viktor Hartmann, with whom he shared artistic views about Russian art. The sudden death of the 39-year-old painter due to an aneurysm led Mussorgsky into deep despair.

A memorial exhibition at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg the following year inspired the composer to write this composition for piano in only 20 days, and Maurice Ravel orchestrated it years later.

Each movement of the piece depicts one of the paintings displayed at the exhibition, usually linked by a bridge under the form of a theme called “Promenade,” which depicts the viewer’s own progress through the exhibition. Unfortunately, most of Hartmann’s original paintings are lost.

Russian artist Natasha Turovsky, currently living in Montreal, has created a new series of pictures based on the same music. Her works will be featured as part of a special animated film premiere at tonight's concert.

View choreographed paintings by Natasha Turovsky »