The Jackson Symphony Orchestra always performs interesting music. But the next JSO concert will provide a true feast for the senses featuring a pair of Jackson-based painters as well as composers with Michigan ties.
Pictures at an Exhibition will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at the Potter Center on the campus of Jackson College. In addition to the music performed by the orchestra, concertgoers will also enjoy visual arts throughout the show, including a piece inspired by the late Philip Campbell Curtis, who was born in Jackson in 1907, and a live performance by local speed painter Evan Struck.
“This is a real celebration of the visual arts but with a great local bent to it,” JSO Music Director Matthew Aubin said. “I’m really excited for it. I think it’s going to be a very different concert experience. I love the music, of course, but the visual components will only enhance it.”
The second half of the show will begin with an original piece inspired by a piece of art from an artist born right here in Jackson. The late Philip Campbell Curtis, the uncle of Jackson attorney Phil Curtis, was an accomplished painter who was born in Jackson and graduated from Albion College.
“I said to Phil, we’re doing this concert featuring the visual arts,” Aubin said. “What if we asked a composer to write a piece inspired by one of your uncle’s works and would you also be able to facilitate a gallery exhibition of your uncle’s works? He really stepped up both in terms of legwork and finances in terms of making this happen.”
Philip Campbell Curtis’s artwork will be on display in the gallery at the Potter Center throughout the month of March and can be seen the night of the JSO’s performance. That performance will feature an original piece composed by Jeremy Crosmer that was inspired by a Curtis painting entitled “Solo,” which is part of the Albion College collection of his works.
“I’m very excited for everybody, especially Phil, to hear this piece of music inspired by his uncle’s art,” Aubin said. “It’s always really cool to bring new music into the world.”
The concert will start with another local tie-in. Evan Struck, a Western High School graduate who completes impressive paintings in five to 10 minutes, will perform alongside the JSO as it performs “LudWig” from “Fifteen-Symphonic Fantasy on the Art of Andy Warhol,” composed by Michael Daugherty, a University of Michigan faculty member. Struck will create artwork inspired by the Andy Warhol painting “Ludwig van Beethoven.”
“The movement is only about four minutes long, and we’re going watch him do his thing,” Aubin said. “We’re planning on auctioning this off at December’s Jackson Symphony Guild Holiday Ball.”
The show will close with the focal point of the concert, Pictures at an Exhibition, composed by Modest Mussorgsky. That portion of the concert will be partnered with a film made by the USC film school and an orchestra in Miami called the New World Symphony that was created to accompany the musical piece.
Tickets to the show are $20 to $35 with student tickets available for $5. There will be a PreConcert Conversation at 6:30 p.m. the night of the show at the Potter Center featuring Aubin and two of the composers being featured at the show. Tickets to an afterparty at the Country Club of Jackson are available at an additional cost.