Musical Time, a brand new recital series offering community focused programs, recently debuted in Nashville, Indiana, at the Brown County Art Guild. With eight pianists performing Mazurkas and duos, the evening’s dance theme was accompanied by featured paintings of Brown County’s famous scenery.
Project co-leads Rachel Chen and Hyeseon Jin, both doctoral students at IU Jacobs School of Music, point out the impact behind designing community specific programs: “We think our project, Musical Time, really does break the traditional format of a public performance. We want to really communicate with our audiences what we’re playing, and really cater our program to what they would like and what would be more engaging. It’s kind of like storytelling, in a way.”
Chen and Jin, visiting the art guild prior to choosing a venue, were touched by the history of the old building, Minor House, and the 100-year-old Steinway piano. Originally owned by guild founder Marie Goth, it was donated to the guild upon her passing, and has been beautifully maintained throughout the years.
The artwork was also a moving factor; historically attracting both serious artists and collectors, the Brown County Art Guild rotates artwork quarterly, featuring artists from around the world. The pianists were inspired, presenting a recital surrounded by the art, combining visual art with their music. “It was just very special, very intimate…the music really intersects with the art in the gallery,” said Chen. “Being surrounded by beautiful artwork and playing music in that beautiful venue is just really meaningful.”
Before playing, each performer offered a few words of background for each piece, highlighting points of interest and intrigue. Afterwards, the pianists and audience mingled at a reception, viewing the artwork together and discussing music. “It was a different feeling than just playing a recital,” said Chen. “It was like you were really sharing your music…it was a very fulfilling feeling to do that work.”
Musical Time’s second performance at the Brown County Art Guild will be on May 28th, at 2 pm. The program, Spring Romance, will feature two piano and violin duos.
This project is supported by the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, the Jacobs School’s Office of Entrepreneurship & Career Development, and the IU Jacobs Piano Department.