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New Pictures at an Exhibition (season 2014/2015)


Target group: secondary (junior and senior high) school and university students

“New Pictures at an Exhibition” is an interdisciplinary project presenting music in the context of other disciplines of art. The musical pictures have been inspired by the exhibition “Relational Geometry”, presented between 7th and 31st January 2015 in Galeria Działań cultural centre in Warsaw’s district of Ursynów-Imielin. The concept of relations is common to both graphic and musical arts. On the one hand, it describes the links between the seemingly abstract geometrical art and music, social phenomena, or science; on the other, it allows music to manifest itself in the form of theatre and dance.

Participants of the project will have the opportunity to experience all the successive stages in the creation of a work of art: from inspiration, to creation, to the actual performance. This rather unusual undertaking raises a number of questions. Here, we have attempted to answer some of them.

Why a  p r o j e c t…?

Why not a concert or a concert series, for instance? This is because the key aim is to make young people aware of how a work of art is  c r e a t e d. A single event, such as a concert, only shows the result of the composer’s and performers’ work, but tells us little about the process. A concert also rarely involves active audience participation, whereas we wish to invite young people to take active part in artistic effort. We hope that this will encourage them to become creative, attentive and passionate art lovers also in the future.

Why  n e w pictures?

Because one aim of the project is to produce three new, original works, each belonging to a different discipline of art:

  • the first – “Dance” – is a several-minute-long choreography prepared by female students of eurhythmics;
  • the second – “Words and Sounds” – will be a theatre study staged by students from the Czacki Grammar School in Warsaw;
  • the third – “New Music” – will have a form of an improvisation that will correspond to one of the fine-art images.

All these new works will be premiered at the final concert of the project.

Why “P i c t u r e s   a t   a n   E x h i b i t i o n”?

This is because we challenge the project participants to translate images into the language of another discipline of art, just as the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky did in his cycle. In 1874 he visited a posthumous exhibition of graphic works by his friend Viktor Hartmann, and, inspired by what he saw, he composed (in just six weeks) a suite for piano entitled Pictures at an Exhibition. Each part of the suite is a musical interpretation of one selected picture.

For our project, we have planned a similar sequence of events: Having seen the exhibition of graphic works in Galeria Działań, the young people will convey their impressions using the tools of their respective artistic disciplines. After several months of work on the words, movements and sounds, they will create the New Pictures at an Exhibition.

Who will create, who will watch…

…and listen? The “new pictures” that will come into being as part of the project are, as explained above, three original compositions, which the audience can relish with both the ear and the eye. This brings out the interdisciplinary character of the project. Their authors will be young people invited by Warsaw Philharmonic to participate:

  • female students of eurhythmics from the K. Szymanowski State Music School Complex No. 4 in Krasiński St., Warsaw, the F. Chopin State Music School Complex in Bednarska St., Warsaw, and the State Music School Complex in Miodowa St. in Warsaw (for the work entitled “Dance”);
  • students from the T, Czacki Grammar School No. 27 in Polna St., Warsaw (for the work entitled “Words and Sounds”);
  • a percussionist Miłosz Pękala, improvisation professor at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and his student (for the work entitled “New Music”).

The final concert will also involve the participation of:

  • the orchestra of the J. Elsner State Secondary Music School in Miodowa St., Warsaw.

The eurhythmics students will work under the supervision of Teresa Nowak, an artist and teacher of choreography from Poznań. The Czacki Grammar School students will be supported by their teachers, including Anna Bogdańska, who closely collaborates with Warsaw Philharmonic. The orchestra of the J. Elsner School will rehearse with the conductor Piotr Staniszewski, and the various sections of the orchestra will be led by musicians from the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. The whole project will be recorded by students from the Film School and Warsaw Philharmonic volunteers.

The audience invited to the final concert will consist of secondary school students and adult music-lovers closely associated with Warsaw Philharmonic. They will all be able to see and hear the results of several months’ work presented by the project participants.

The musical “vernissage”, that is, the final concert

…will be held on 11th June 2015 at Warsaw Philharmonic, in different venues: the Concert and Chamber Music Halls, the two foyers adjacent to the Concert Hall, and the dress circle foyer. The concert will begin in the Concert Hall with a performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition by the orchestra of the J. Elsner State Secondary Music School in Warsaw, supplemented by section leaders from the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. The audience will then be split into several groups, and each of them will follow a guide to a different part of the Warsaw Philharmonic building. This will be the beginning of the “visit to the exhibition