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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Harpist Michelle Temple’s Multimedia Event, “Art2Art: Celebrating Inspiration,” Explores the Fascinating Intersection of Music and Art at Laguna Art Museum on May 25

Orange County, Calif. — May 05, 2017


What began as an idea living inside the head of Pacific Symphony harpist Michelle Temple is about to become a reality, when her interactive multimedia event, “Art2Art: Celebrating Inspiration” takes place on Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m. at the Laguna Art Museum. Initially taking inspiration from the notion that art evokes, inspires and drives artists in every field to create great new works, Temple applied for a Musician Innovation Grant (funding creative projects by Pacific Symphony musicians), and when named a recipient, she let her dream grow wings and fly. Hosted by the Laguna Art Museum, Art2Art spotlights a performance by a sextet of Symphony musicians; music inspired by poetry; dance galvanized by poetry and music; a video about Georgia O’Keeffe; a premiere by composer James Hopkins sparked by a painting in the Museum’s collection; and an exciting opportunity to win prizes, while exploring the intersection of art and music.

Attendance at this event is free with museum admission and includes pre-concert activities (see later in release); advance tickets are recommended. For more information, visit or call the Symphony’s box office at (714) 755-5799.

“I’m fascinated by and wanted to celebrate the creative process across all artistic fields,” says Temple. “For this project, I wanted to focus on how one artist’s work can spark a creative fire in another. What does a poet or choreographer hear in a Beethoven symphony that moves them to express themselves? Does what they hear and the inspiration they find strike a similar chord in me, or is it something new and surprising? How does a composer translate the beauty, color and texture he sees in a painting into a piece of music? What is it about a particular painting that speaks to him? I think this event has something exciting to offer art lovers of all kinds!”

This exciting multimedia celebration of art inspiring art features six highly talented Symphony musicians—Cynthia Ellis, flute; Temple, harp; Agnes Gottschewski, violin; Nancy Eldridge, violin; Pamela Jacobson, viola; and Robert Vos, cello—performing music and dance works created specifically for this event.

The program includes an evocative piece for string quartet, flute and harp by local composer and USC Emeritus Professor James Hopkins, which was named after and inspired by the painting “Cloud Shadows” by Laguna Art Museum founder Anna Hills. Also featured are Hopkins’ “Images Sonnantes,” Jules Mouquet’s “La Flute de Pan, Op. 15” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, movements three and four, with poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven.” Featuring choreography by UC Irvine Department Chair of Dance Lisa Naugle, this new mini-ballet, motivated by St. Vincent Millay’s poem, will be performed by Naugle’s students, outstanding artists from UCI.

“We are constantly experiencing music inspired by dance forms and music inspired by poetry (songs and opera), but what about poetry that was inspired by music?” says Temple. “That led me to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem ‘On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven.’ I was struck with the idea of trying to recreate the joy and power of Millay’s music-inspired words in the movement of a new dance, which would use both Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the poem as inspiration. I feel so fortunate that my idea captured the imagination of Lisa Naugle, who offered to choreograph this new work and enable her students to bring it to life.”

A special screening of composer and multimedia artist Nell Shaw Cohen’s fascinating video, “The Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe and the New Mexico Landscape” is part of this unique evening exploring art. The 10-minute work focuses on the inspiration the famous artist took from nature. The musical underscore of the film was written by Cohen as a concert piece, influenced by O’Keeffe’s artwork. It was composed prior to the conception of the video as part of a three-movement work for chamber quintet called, “Into Nowhere.” The composer often writes in a unique musical style that endeavors to reflect a specific artwork’s rhythms and colors.

“I believe that painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) achieved an important artistic ideal: to create new meanings, previously unrealized connections and heightened ways of perceiving the world and filtering experience,” says Cohen. “I seek to do the same with ‘The Faraway Nearby’—to offer new insight, new ways of experiencing the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, and her source material…to bring you into her world as I imagine it.”

An interactive highlight of Art2Art will be a game of historical discovery about how art and music have often intersected and inspired the creation of great new works by artists and composers. Hosted by Temple and Laguna Art Museum Executive Director Malcolm Warner, the “Art Intersection” game offers the audience a chance to be rewarded for their listening skills with valuable prizes. Post-event, audience members are invited to stay for a Q&A discussing artistic inspiration with composer Hopkins, Naugle and Warner.

Not-to-be-missed pre-concert activities include an improvisational dance/art installation incorporating the current sculpture exhibition from 6:30-6:55 p.m., a special hands-on art project for artistically inclined audience members and an opportunity to view the Museum’s current exhibit. The remarkable museum gallery venue, with exceptional California artwork surrounding audience and performers, provides a memorable experience for Art2Art’s interactive multimedia event.

The Musician Innovation Grants were first established in 2015 to give Pacific Symphony’s musicians the opportunity for original expression, creativity and experimentation, with the goal of serving new communities and developing new or deeper interest in classical music. With funding provided by The James Irvine Foundation, the projects focus on adults and highlight interactivity. Inspired by the creative minds and unique backgrounds of its musicians, the Symphony and its Board of Directors awarded Musician Innovation Grants to fund new artistic projects to four orchestra members in 2015-16 and three in 2016-17. These chamber music performances have explored such diverse themes as obsession, synesthesia, suppressed musical treasures of the 20th century, as well as classical and Broadway music.