Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Feeling grateful for all the good things, including beautiful music.
I performed “Syrinx” while perusing the exhibition right before giving a recital with guitarist Gideon Whitehead at Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania. It was part of my Dolce Suono Ensemble’s series of co-presented concerts with the gallery.
Our program explored the themes of Paris in the second empire and travel, with works by Verdi/Genin, Donjon, Paganini, Bosch, Dyens, Robert Maggio, and Lowell Liebermann.
It was fitting to perform Syrinx at the exhibition “A Sense of Place: Modern Japanese Print” at Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania. Among the artworks displayed were works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, artists who inspired Claude Debussy.
This concert, on May 14, 2015, was one of Dolce Suono Ensemble’s series at Arthur Ross Gallery, offered in conjunction with its exhibitions.
I performed Syrinx at my recital with guitarist Allen Krantz at the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania at the first concert in my Dolce Suono Ensemble’s new partnership with the gallery on October 2, 2013. I felt inspired to play Debussy among the works of his friend Rodin at this exhibition.
To see photos of recent performances with Dolce Suono Ensemble at the Hispanic Choice Awards, Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, and as soloist with Delaware County Symphony, please visit Mimi Stillman‘s Facebook page and Dolce Suono Ensemble‘s Facebook page.
DSE on the red carpet pre-performance at Hispanic Choice Awards
Left to right: Celina Velez, violin, Daniel Lee, viola, Mimi, Louis Xavier Barrette, guitar, Hannah Ji, violin, Robin Kesselman, bass
Yesterday I gave a performance at a program celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania and the opening of a wonderful exhibition entitled “La Tauromaquia: Carnicero, Goya, and Picasso.” The exhibit features 70 etchings, aquatints, and lithographs on the subject of bullfighting, from the magnificent collection of Arthur Ross and the Arthur Ross Foundation. I performed at a program honoring the memory of Mr. Ross, the gallery’s founder, with moving remarks by Janet Ross, his widow, Ambassador William vanden Heuvel, and gallery director Lynn Marsden-Atlass. It was a special feeling to be in the company of such erudite people recounting their rich life experiences, surrounded by compelling works of art.
I planned a program for the theme of tauromaquia: Marin Marais’s Les folies d’Espagne to illustrate the French and Europe-wide imagination of Spain, Emilio Arrieta’s El oasis, my solo flute arrangement of this song for voice and piano, and François Borne’s Fantasy on themes from Bizet’s Carmen (with probably the most famous bullfighter in music history!). Arrieta was a 19th-century Spanish composer who was instrumental in developing the zarzuela genre. During the Arrieta, my mother, Hispanist Ronni L. Gordon, joined me in reading excerpts from Federico García Lorca’s famous poem of Tauromaquia, “Llanto por la muerte de Ignacio Sánchez Mejías.”
My program did not include Syrinx but I decided to pair today’s rendition with images from the exhibition. Debussy’s only visit to Spain was to attend a bullfight in San Sebastián, yet Spanish imagery and themes were a significant source of inspiration for several of his works including Ibéria and La Soirée dans Grenade. He was one of many French artists captured by the exoticism and mystery of Spain, and who in turn evoked Spain in his music so well that the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla wrote that “Debussy wrote Spanish music without knowing Spain.”
I love this intricate window at the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania. Frank Furness’s design for the Fisher Fine Arts Library, home to the gallery, is filled with lovely architectural features like this decorative window. While playing Syrinx I stood facing the length of the gallery, enjoying the long decay in the resonant space.
This afternoon I visited the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, a wonderful exhibit space housed in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. I profiled this Frank Furness building in previous Syrinx Journey postings. Founded by philanthropist Arthur Ross in 1983, the gallery presents changing exhibitions of an eclectic range of visual arts and artifacts. I was graciously welcomed by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Director of the gallery. The acoustics are very resonant with a lingering echo that made me feel like I was playing a duet with myself.
The current exhibition, 9 Perspectives on a Photography Collection, features photographs from the gallery’s collection. It was very interesting to see works by photographers including Helmut Newton and Edward Steichen who appears below. Steichen enlisted in the US Navy in World War II and created the US Naval Aviation Photographic Unit to document the war.
With Lynn Marsden-Atlass
Victor Jorgensen, Edward Steichen Aboard the USS Lexington, 1943