SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY VIRTUOSO PIANIST PEDJA MUZIJEVIC AT BYRDCLIFFE KLEINERT/JAMES CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Renowned classical pianist Pedja Muzijevic will give a free performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s many-layered masterwork, Pictures at an Exhibition, and John Cage’s In a Landscape on January 18 at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts. The performance, generously sponsored by Byrdcliffe board members Henry T. Ford (Chairman) and Paul Washington (Treasurer), begins at 6:30 pm, immediately following the opening reception for the exhibition Bolton Brown: Strength and Solitude. This exhibition is on view until March 2, extended by a week from its originally announced closing date.
Bosnian-born Pedja Muzijevic is a versatile and technically refined pianist. His repertoire is expansive and diverse, taking on composers at opposite poles — Scarlatti, Schumann, Schoenberg — with a fearless multidimensionality matched only by the likes of Alfred Brendel. Mr. Muzijevic has a long list of international and national performances, including with the Atlanta Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Dresden Philharmonic, and many others. He has played solo recitals at venues including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and important music festivals such as Tanglewood and Spoleto. His Carnegie Hall debut was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C-major with the Oberlin Symphony.
The free performance on January 18 is Byrdcliffe’s expression of gratitude to its supporters and all members of the community. In conjunction with the exhibition opening, Mr. Muzijevic’s performance of Pictures at an Exhibition marks a symbolic reunion of Byrdcliffe founders Bolton Brown and Hervey White, under the all-embracing vision of Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead. By 1904, this threesome had gone separate ways – Brown to establish an independent studio and teaching practice and White to found the secessionist colony known as the Maverick. Mr. Muzijevic performs regularly as part of the Maverick Concert Series. His interpretation of a piece by John Cage (whose 4’33” famously debuted at the Maverick) was reviewed positively by the New York Times, while William Thomas Walker has written: “Listening to the almost peerless musicianship of pianist Pedja Muzijevic left the music lover in speechless wonder, grappling for apt superlatives.”
In addition to those venues mentioned above, Mr. Muzijevic has performed at The Frick Collection in New York and the National Gallery in Washington DC. Adding the Kleinert/James to his roster of recitals in spaces dedicated to the visual arts, Mr. Muzijevic honors the enduring bonds between sight and sound, imagery and music – one of the key links in Byrdcliffe’s interdisciplinary vision from the outset. Mr. Muzijevic chose Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for his performance after the Bolton Brown opening because of the piece’s conceptual foundation: the internal experiences of a viewer — Mussorgsky himself — moving from picture to picture in an exhibition hall. Composed in 1874, the piece commemorates the architect and artist Viktor Hartmann, a friend of Mussorgsky’s who died suddenly at the age of 39. The composition consists of 10 separate movements, each representing a different contemplative state brought about by an image in the exhibition. The familiar, processional main theme of the piece, repeated between some of the movements, signifies Mussorgsky walking to the next picture. Though originally composed for piano, Pictures at an Exhibition has garnered equal fame by way of Maurice Ravel’s transcription for orchestra, completed in 1922.
January 18 is a culturally rich day at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, beginning with talks at 2:30 pm by two experts on Bolton Brown and printmaking: Ronald Netsky, Professor of Art at Nazareth College, and Dr. Patricia Phagan, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College. A reception follows from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, with Pedja Muzijevic’s performance at 6:30 pm. The 10-movement piece is approximately 30 minutes long.