Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and Mitchell Gallery mix artwork and song in their first joint exhibit

A picturesque look at music

February 24, 2006|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Art of Music -- In Performance marks the first collaboration between the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Mitchell Gallery at St. John's College.

The exhibition showcasing more than 40 music-related works from the Baltimore Museum of Art's collection will be on display at the gallery through April 9. On March 3, music and art lovers will be treated to a concert combining these two art forms featuring pianist Rachel Franklin.

ASO President R. Lee Streby said, "I'm excited at the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's collaborating with another arts organization for three main reasons. First, our audience that is so enchanted with Rachel Franklin will be able to hear this gifted pianist in performance."

Noting Franklin's musicologist lecturer skills, Streby added, "Rachel has been very important to the orchestra for several years, so it seemed natural that we would involve her in commentary. We will also hear the artistry of new musicians -- violinist Mateusz Wolski playing solo and Arvin Gopal, who plays the viola like a violin, with [cellist] Allison Bazala and [oboist] Fatma Daglar together. This will translate into showcasing new musicians. I'm delighted to delve into chamber music that allows them to look at each other's style and blend together in a much more intimate musical setting."

The day after the exhibit was installed, art educator Lucinda Edinberg noted: "We've finally arrived at the point here where we can take on this kind of venture, although we haven't done many things on this scale. Both the orchestra and we are at good positions to do this. We started about eight months ago after Pam Chaconas first mentioned the idea. Gallery members and ASO were happy to take part in this wonderful way to merge resources."

Chaconas, a member of the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors and former ASO education director, said, "Pianist and musicologist Rachel Franklin and the ASO musicians are the perfect enhancement for the Art of Music exhibit. I think this will be a delightful evening, and it is exciting to see the Mitchell Gallery and the ASO collaborating."

Rachel Franklin added, "Last summer, I looked at the exhibit at [the Music Center at] Strathmore to see what was available in terms of musicians. Lucinda Edinberg has been a tremendous help guiding me through the style and technique of the paintings and clarifying messages a painting might be sending."

Reflecting on her busy life as ASO's preconcert lecturer and as a concert, chamber and jazz pianist, Franklin said, "When the ASO asked me to direct and perform a chamber concert with some of their finest players and build the program around an art exhibit, I jumped at the chance both to play and lecture. It's an almost infinite subject -- the connections between the fine arts and music. I've always found it fascinating to explore why composers write what they write; now I get to compare that with why painters paint what they paint."

Referring to a nearby painting Boy With a Violin by David Dalhoff Neal, Franklin said, "Here is Robert Garrett of Baltimore at age 12, where it is clear that his prowess on the instrument is extremely important to how he would like the world to see him. In his elegant outfit, slightly arrogant and sure of himself, he is certainly ready for somebody to ask him to play."

Franklin shared how she selected music for this Neal painting.

"Here I wanted to showcase the ASO's fine string players and, with Mateusz Wolski's help, I chose some sizzling movements from an early Beethoven string trio," she said. "It's a dazzling piece, very challenging to play and deliberately designed by Beethoven to attract the attention of new, wealthy and well-trained sponsors like Prince Lobkowitz who would be able to play such a work in their own salons and enhance their reputations as people of high culture. Our young violinist Robert Garrett could certainly see himself in such a role."

At 7 p.m. March 3, the audience at St. John's Francis Scott Key Auditorium will hear Vivaldi's Concerto in D minor, Massenet's Meditation from Thais, Beethoven's String Trio in G major, Saint-Saens' Sonata for Oboe and Piano, and Mozart's Piano quartet in G minor.

Tickets for "The Art of Music -- In Performance" are $20, $15 for Mitchell Gallery members and ASO subscribers, and can be purchased by calling ASO at 410-263-0907 or going online to www.annapolissymphony.org.

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