Harpist Michelle Temple’s Multimedia Event, “Art2Art,” Explores the Intersection of Music and Art

art 2 artWhat began as an idea 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, at 7 p.m., in 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 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.

art 2 artThis exciting multimedia celebration of art inspiring art features six highly talented Symphony musicians—Cynthia Ellis, flute; Temple, harp; Agnes Gottschewski, violin I; Nancy Eldridge, violin II; Pamela Jacobson, viola; and Robert Vos, cello—performing world premieres of music and dance works created specifically for this event. Attendance is free with Museum admission and includes pre-concert activities—an improvisational dance/art installation incorporating the current sculpture exhibition (from 6:30-6:55 p.m.), a special hands-on art project for audience members, and the opportunity to view the Museum’s current exhibit. Advance tickets are recommended. For more information, call the Symphony’s box office at (714) 755-5799 or CLICK HERE.

“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!"

art 2 artThe 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, 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 Department Chair of Dance at UC Irvine (UCI), Lisa Naugle, this new mini-ballet, motivated by the St. Vincent Millay’s poem, will be performed by Naugle’s students, outstanding artists from UCI.

art 2 art“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 inspiration. 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.

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.