Abstract Expressions at the Clark Art Institute

September 23, 2017 | 1:00pm
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA


This special musical event focuses on the aural history of the abstract expressionism period, featuring the music of American composers performed in various locations on the Clark’s campus. Parts I and IV are ticketed events; parts II and III are free.

Part I, 1–2 pm: International Contemporary Ensemble Chamber Concert
Soprano Tony Arnold, members of ICE, and conductor David Fulmer perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Pauline Oliveros’s Earth Ears (fresh from performing this piece at the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival). “...Every ‘icicle,’ as its members are affectionately called, possesses the requisite killer instinct to tackle virtuosic new music.” (New York Times)
Tickets: $20 ($18 members)
Michael Conforti Pavilion

Part II, 2–4 pm: Piano Concert
Pianist Conor Hanick performs Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories and a composition by David Fulmer, inspired by Helen Frankenthaler’s Tethys.
Museum Pavilion

Part III, 2:30–3:15 pm: Abstract for Winds
Outdoor chamber music performance featuring works by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Elliott Carter, and Edgard Varèse.
Spencer Terrace, Lunder Center at Stone Hill

Part IV, 5–6 pm: Chamber Music Concert
Members of the Ensemble Connect perform works by John Cage, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, and Charles Wuorinen.
Tickets: $20 ($18 members)
Michael Conforti Pavilion

Abstract expressionism was the first specifically American artistic movement to achieve international influence, and to establish New York City as the center of the western art world—a position formerly occupied by Paris. But even before the consolidation of this movement in New York City, threads of stylistic development were being cultivated in Germany shortly after the turn of the twentieth century.

Post-war music was no less creative than its contemporary in visual arts. Abstract Expressions presents an opportunity to hear music from a particularly fertile epicenter of the American musical scene: some of America’s most original, challenging, and serious music. The performances offer works rarely heard by composers who remain as influential and important figures in the history of American music.

Tony Arnold, voice 
Nathan Davis, percussion 
Emi Ferguson, flute 
Jacob Greenberg, piano 
Campbell MacDonald, clarinet 
Josh Modney, violin and viola 
Michael Nicolas, cello 

David Fulmer, conductor