The Delaware Art Museum is planning an eclectic lineup of musical performances to reaffirm the museum’s mission to engage the public in an exploration of artistic creation through stimulating conversations and performances.
“In 2019, the series pursues the twin goals of peak performance and social justice,” said Jonathan Whitney, manager of performance programs and community engagement at the museum.
The series opens Thursday with a performance by the museum’s resident chamber ensemble, the Pyxis Piano Quartet. The program, titled “The Feminine Mystique,” complements the museum’s display of works by 19th-century Pre-Raphaelite painter and women’s rights advocate Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891). To honor her legacy, Pyxis will present a program of works by female composers, including Rebecca Clark, Gwyneth Walker, Germaine Tailleferre and Dora Pejačević.
South Korean band Black String makes their highly anticipated appearance on January 18. The ensemble, whose motto is “Contemporary Music without Borders from Korea”, explores the intersection of Eastern musical styles with Western jazz. The four-member ensemble combines traditional Korean percussion, a stringed instrument called “geomungo“, and bamboo flutes and jazz guitar to create a unique sound that demonstrates cultural communication.
“They’re only in the country for a few weeks and when the opportunity arose to bring them to the museum, we jumped on it,” Whitney said. “There will be a show during the day for schoolchildren, then a public show in the evening, then a cross-cultural jam session on Saturday with local musicians.”
The museum hosts the Philadelphia-based choir The Crossing on February 7. Formed by a group of friends in 2005, this Grammy Award-winning ensemble under the direction of Donald Nelly focuses on new music, commissions and early works, collaborating with various venues and instrumental groups. In addition to public performance, The Crossing will also work with advanced members of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, offering them the opportunity to work with one of the nation’s top choral conductors.
“Up!“, a dance theater piece created by hip-hop dance pioneer Dr. Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris brings audiences his blend of powerful house beats and soulful gospel vocals on March 8. The work, which will be performed at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, tells the story of a young man who must choose between a decent life and the lure of the streets. During the company’s week-long residency in Wilmington, the museum will offer workshops for schools and the public as well as two school performances.
The Danny Green Trio bring their blend of jazz, classical and Brazilian elements to the museum’s Fusco Hall on March 28. In addition to the public performance, composer Green and his musicians will also lead a jazz workshop for classical musicians at the Music School of Delaware’s Wilmington branch.
Pyxis returns May 2 with a program of traditional chamber repertoire as well as a commissioned piece by Wilmington composer David Schelat.
The series ends on July 25 with a performance of “Fanm d’Ayiti” by flautist and singer Nathalie Joachim. Fanm d’Ayiti is an attempt to draw attention to the under-recognized women of Haitian song and explore their personal stories as they relate to Afro-Caribbean culture, society, history and music in their giving an international platform.
Joachim’s performance will coincide with the exhibition “Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago”, which runs from June 22 to September 8.
For more information on dates, times and locations and to purchase tickets, go to www.delart.org.