The Sentinel Tribune writes,
“The classical music staple “Pictures at an Exhibition” is getting a new look when it is paired with moving pictures created by university film students.
When the Bowling Green Philharmonia, directed by Emily Freeman Brown, performs Sunday at 3 p.m. films created by the Visual Imagery in Music class taught by Lucas Ostrowski will be projected above the orchestra.
The concert, which will also feature Richard Strauss’ “Four Last Songs” with solo soprano Sujin lee, and Claude Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun,” will be presented in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus.
The project came after Jeffrey Showell, the dean of the College of Musical Arts, suggested a collaboration between student musicians and student filmmakers.
For his part Ostrowski had been wanting to offer a class looking at the intersection of music and film. His interest while a student at Ohio University was the music in horror films and rockumentaries.
“This gave me a reason to do this class,” he said.
So he taught Visual Imagery in Music. The 17 students in the class listened to the music, and researched some about composer Modest Mussorsky.
Mostly though they reacted to the music. Usually when they work with music, Ostrowski said, it is contemporary. “Pictures at an Exhibition” offered the challenge of dealing with a late 19th century piece.
It’s just one of the ways in which the project “takes students out of their comfort zone,” Ostrowski said.
The project also requires them to work backward, creating images for music, rather than fitting the music to film.
The films are being “created for a client” and work with parameters provided to them.
“Having their films played alongside a live orchestra is probably an experience they’ll never have again,” Ostrowski said.
“Pictures at an Exhibition” was originally written for piano, and later orchestrated a number of times.
It depicts a stroll through an exhibition of works by Mussorsky’s friend Victor Hartmann. The movements, linked by several promenade sections, depict various Hartmann’s paintings.
But the students weren’t tied to the imagery of the titles. Instead they were given free rein to come up with their own cinematic interpretations.
Those varied from abstract images using lights, milk and plexiglass, or short narratives.
One involves a guardian angel-like figure. Another evokes the Frankenstein story.
Brown said: “They are very creative, sometimes personal, sometimes they are in a narrative form and sometimes abstract.”
Seeing all these ideas juxtaposed “is fun,” Ostrowski said.
He plans to record the performance, and have it played at Arts X next December.
He’s also hoping to repeat the experiment next year.”
For tickets visit: bgsu.edu/musicevents