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A Little Lunch Music, 10/19/2017: Award-Winning Italian Classical Guitarist Will Perform

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On Thursday, October 19, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium, the series will present a free concert by classical guitarist Edoardo Catemario, in collaboration with the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. The program will feature music by Erik Satie, Johann Sebastian Bach, Heitor Villa Lobos, Francisco Tarrega, Frédéric Chopin, Domenico Scarlatti, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albeniz.

Click here for the event page on our calendar with more about the performer and the full schedule for fall 2017.

Thanks to gifts from anonymous friends of the series for helping to make this performance possible.

A native of Italy, Catemario was born in Naples. He started his music studies at the age of five and gave his first solo recital at age eleven. He has won first prizes in national and international competitions including the prestigious Andrés Segovia Guitar Competition in Almunecar, Granada.

Catemario will open Thursday’s program with music by Erik Satie, who lived around the turn of the twentieth century. Through his life and music, Satie was reacting against social conventions of his time, said Catemario, adding that he was escaping the common world through drugs.

“His music reflects this world of dream,” said Catemario of Satie. The pieces by Satie on Thursday’s program are extremely fragile and full of reflection, said Catemario. Originally written for piano, they come from two works called Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes.

Even Satie’s titles were dreamlike. Gnossiennes was a word made up by Satie, and though used by others at the time, the meaning of Gymnopédie is unclear. “As a matter of fact, Satie liked to make fun of the words,” said Catemario.

Catemario said on Thursday he will pair Satie’s music, and other pieces with similar sounds and moods, with music whose composers were more concerned with conventions like form, melody, and harmonic progression. He said in doing this he hopes to create what he called “sentimental tension,” or using music to affect the emotions of his audience.

“Performers have a great power,” said Catemario. He said over time he has learned to synthesize what he hears in the music with what people in his audience are feeling. “I recognize in the pieces the structures that can be used to create this kind of tension,” he said.

Catemario compared the ebb and flow of emotional tension and release to building a series of arches, as in architecture. “This idea of balance is extremely common in Italian culture,” he said, pointing out that Italy has many arches. He said he thinks of himself as a storyteller and uses his programs to play that role. “I tell stories with the only thing I know, a collection of sounds,” he added.

Paired with Satie will be a prelude and fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach. Guitar transcriptions of piano music by Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin, a nocturne and waltz, will precede sonatas by Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti.

The audience will hear music by Brazilian Impressionist composer Heitor Villa-Lobos side-by-side with that of Francisco Tarrega, a more conservative Romantic-period composer from Spain. Catemario will finish the program pairing Claude Debussy’s famous and dreamlike “Claire de Lune” with more rhythmic and dramatic music by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz.

Hye Yeon Nam (Louisiana, b. 1979) Floating Identity, 2017 Plexiglas and silicone (kinetic sculpture)

Share and save: “Out of the Box” Event Pics

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JCSM is so grateful to have so many friends and new visitors to the Out of the Box: A Juried Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition outreach programs and grand opening celebration. We hope you had a great time and will share and save your favorite pictures.

With a varied exhibition schedule featuring historic and contemporary art and more than 200 free arts programs per year, JCSM has transformational experiences for all ages and stages!

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A Little Lunch Music, 10/5/2017: Jeremy Samolesky to Perform Music from Romantic Period

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On Thursday, October 5, from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert by pianist Jeremy Samolesky. The program will feature music by Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johann Sebastian Bach (from the Bach-Busoni editions). Thanks to gifts from Drs. T. and Soma Nagendran and from Anonymous Friends of the Series for helping to make this performance possible.

Thursday’s program will be repeated as a ticketed concert at Auburn University’s Goodwin Hall at 7:30 on October 23. The two Auburn performances will be part of Samolesky’s upcoming tour of six schools in the southeast plus Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York.

Samolesky will play Franz Schubert’s “Klavierstück No. 2 in E-flat major,” written the last year of the young composer’s life in 1828. Also on the program will be Frédéric Chopin’s mid-1830s composition “Ballade No. 1 in G minor,” Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Sonata in E major, Op. 109” from 1820, and a Ferruccio Busoni arrangement of “Chaconne in D minor” for violin by Johann Sebastian Bach.

In the early-to-mid 1800s, the piano began its final development into its modern form. This came at a time when Romantic-Period composers like Chopin and Franz Liszt were writing almost exclusively for the instrument, ushering in a kind of golden age of the piano.

Samolesky said many of the most famous piano pieces are from that time. The Classical Period had all but ended, its music known for musical ideas developed with symmetry and organized into established forms. The Romantic composers broke from that tradition, writing music that was more intense and dramatic, driven by beautiful melodies.

Even Beethoven, whom Samolesky said took Classical forms about as far as they could go, in the end began to abandon those ideas. The “Sonata in E major” was Beethoven’s 30th piano sonata, and began his movement toward romantic and spiritual themes, said Samolesky.

“He’s expressing a new voice,” Samolesky said of the sonata. “The form is still there, but there’s a profound message within the music,” he said, adding that it is nostalgic and more reflective.

During the life of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the piano was in its infancy. Bach’s keyboard works included music only for harpsichord and organ. But as the piano became more popular, so did Bach’s music. For instance, Samolesky said Liszt arranged of all of Bach’s organ sonatas for piano four-hand.

The Steinway company was founded in 1853 building concert pianos. In the decades that followed, other companies began mass-producing them. More and more, the piano became common in Western homes. Samolesky said with no radio yet to broadcast performances, these arrangements were a way people could enjoy Bach’s music at home.

Busoni, who lived around the turn of the 20th century, was a very famous concert pianist, said Samolesky. “His music was full of extreme virtuosity,” he added. He said pianists like Busoni were literally rock stars of that generation. Also a composer and arranger, Busoni is possibly best-known for his editions of Bach’s music arranged for the piano.

The instruments Bach had to work with, such as the violin and harpsichord, were mostly smaller and limited in their abilities compared to the modern piano. The pianist said for this reason, many might think of Bach’s music as quiet and perhaps unable to express the full range of human emotion. But he said he believes that with access to the modern piano, Bach would have used its full capability. And Busoni would have agreed, judging by his version of the Chaconne.

Samolesky believes that Busoni’s interpretation of the solo violin piece is as romantic in its expression as the masterpieces of Chopin and Liszt. Though Samolesky said Busoni kept the notes and harmonies true to Bach’s original, he uses the full physical and emotional range of the piano to build to a victorious finale.

Chopin’s ballades are his hits, said Samolesky. “They have everything in them,” he said, adding that they are a storytelling journey, with many different moods and characters. Samolesky said that most of the pieces on Thursday’s program display the very Romantic notion of struggle toward redemption at the end. But Chopin’s “Ballade No. 1” is the exception. He said it has the struggle, but “comes crashing down onto a minor chord.”

Samolesky said he enjoys playing the entirety of piano repertoire. But returning to the more famous and dramatic Romantic music is helpful. “I’ve taught most of these pieces, and put together a program of some of my all-time favorites,” he said. He added, “You get a lot of emotional and physical satisfaction from playing Romantic music.”

Logo celebrating 1892-2017 and Auburn women

Celebrate American Business Women’s Day and 125 Years of Auburn Women with collection highlights

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Friday, Sept. 22 isn’t just the first day of fall–it’s American Business Women’s Day. JCSM is recognizing dynamic artists from our permanent collection, who are working and making art today.

The museum is also celebrating the Auburn Alumni Association’s 125 Years of Auburn Women. Now through Nov. 11, 2017, you can find women artists who have an Auburn or state of Alabama connection on view in the Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Gallery.

Beginning Nov. 11, curators will change out the gallery for this year’s 1072 Society Exhibition. This year’s 1072 Society donor campaign will focus on significant artwork by women artists, thus proudly adding to the 96 females currently represented in the collection of more than 2,500 objects. You can learn more about supporting the arts at Auburn here. Here are a few highlights of women in the JCSM collection.

Florence Neal ’76

Throughout her career, Ms. Neal has created work that reflects her very personal experience and connectedness to the natural world, acknowledging those changing rhythms and cyclical patterns of growth and decay, ebb and flow and chaos and order. Though she has resided in Brooklyn, New York working as a
printmaker, sculptor, painter and curator for most of her adult life, she is a daughter of the deep south and her ties to the land are visceral and provocative. Ms. Neal is the Director and Co-founder of the Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Auburn University.

a pastel drawing of a bird's nest

Janet Nolan ’64

What you might step over on the streets of a big city, Janet Nolan uses to make assemblages, ranging from small to large scale. Often, rather than having an exact plan at the outset she allows the object to dictate the sculpture’s final form. The range of Nolan’s materials in recent years has included soda cans smashed in traffic, colorful plastic bottle caps, broken umbrellas and men’s neckties. Her collection of abandoned birds’ nests fills a china cupboard in her home and has inspired drawings such as the one in the museum’s collection. Currently, Ms. Nolan serves on the JCSMAdvisory Board as chair of Collections and Acquisitions.

Metal artists pour iron into molds

What is an iron pour…exactly?

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You have a specially-designed furnace, also called a cupola, in which the iron is melted. The fuel, or coke, is added to begin the heating process. Once the furnace is up to temperature, pieces of iron and additional coke are gradually added through the top of the cupola. As the iron melts, it collects around a tap at the bottom of the furnace. When enough iron is melted, the tap is opened and the hot iron flows down a channel into a specially-coated container. For our event on October 6th, the Sloss Furnaces’ metal arts crew will then pour the molten iron into sand molds, which event attendees will have had the opportunity to carve with their own designs earlier in the evening. Once the molds cool, the hardened designs will be released, and participates will have handmade souvenirs ready to take home with them that same night.

The pouring process is not only exciting and interactive, but it also recalls Alabama’s industrial past and the artisans of our region. Sloss Furnaces, a once-functioning blast furnace plant where iron was made from 1882 to 1971, is helping to educate about that rich history and the continued artistry of metal work – examples of which can be seen in several of the sculptures featured in the Out of the Box exhibition that our opening reception is celebrating — through their efforts as a National Historic Landmark.

Contributed by Jessica Hughes, co-curator, Out of the Box: A Juried Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

A Little Lunch Music 9/21/2017: Auburn Native Returns to Sing Art Song, Opera, and More

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On Thursday, September 21 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert by soprano Kathleen Buccleugh with pianist Laurie Middaugh. The program will feature music by Joaquín Rodrigo, Gabriel Fauré, Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leonard Bernstein, and selections from musical theater and popular music. Thanks to gifts from anonymous friends of the series for helping to make this performance possible.

Click here for our calendar event page with more information about the artists.

Buccleugh (pronounced like Buckley) said a recent search into her music collection resulted in a program covering a wide range of styles. Thursday’s music will feature art songs by Gabriel Fauré, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Richard Strauss. She will sing a Mozart aria, selections from music theater, and a song by Joni Mitchell. “I wanted to show as much diversity of repertoire that I could,” she said.

French composer Gabriel Fauré’s song cycle 5 Mélodies is nicknamed “de Venise,” because his ideas for the songs were developed during a vacation to Venice. Buccleugh said the music is full of lush harmonies, and the melodies are about as romantic as you can get. “It’s just pouring romance musically and with the words.” she said.

The duo will present Cuatro madrigales amatorios by Joaquín Rodrigo, four songs that set a darker mood. Written in 1947, the composer used sixteenth-century poems. The songs highlight an intense and sometimes painful side of love.

Buccleugh will sing three Richard Strauss songs including “Morgen!” translated “Morning!” a song she said she has wanted to do since she was a student at Auburn High.

The aria “In uomini, in soldati” is sung by the character Despina in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte. It is a role Buccleugh has played before and will revisit next month in her debut with the Mobile Opera. She has also sung roles with Utah Festival Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Birmingham, New Rochelle Opera and others.

Buccleugh said singing Mozart is a privilege because his melodies are so beautiful. She said while his musical phrases are exquisite and speak for themselves, that doesn’t mean the text should suffer. “That’s my job as an opera singer, to balance telling the story with serving the music,” she said.

Buccleugh said working in a recital format like this allows her to have fun switching between different styles. She will sing “Will He Like Me?” by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick from the musical, She Loves Me. She said the style allows her some looseness when she interprets the music, even with the option of sometimes speaking rather than singing lyrics. “You can’t sing it like Mozart opera,” she said.

Though Buccleugh said she didn’t have in mind a particular theme for Thursday’s recital, she said love is the theme. But she added that love, in some form or other, is almost always the theme, when it comes to a concert of songs.

These selections show many kinds of love, said Buccleugh. Fauré and Rodrigo’s songs present romantic love in its happy, painful, and sexual expressions. She said Mozart’s Despina sings of a kind of disposable love, fickle and playful.

A song by Leonard Bernstein, “Glitter and Be Gay,” from his operetta Candide, sings of a love of possessions. Buccleugh paraphrased the song, “Times are hard, but I’m being covered in jewels and lavish clothing, so things could be worse.”

soprano Kathleen Buccleugh

soprano Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh

artwork from the film showing a head-covered woman and a dove with olive branch.

Watch the Trailer: “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”

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Watch the official trailer

RSVP for reception and screening

JCSM and the International Women for Peace and Understanding are proud to present a free screening of the award-winning documentary, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” This documentary chronicles the remarkable story of the Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. Thousands of women–mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim–came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outsident the Presidential Palace in Liberia.

There will be a reception in the Museum Cafe from 1:15 to 2 pm. There will be the movie in the auditorium at 2 pm, followed by discussion.

baritone Matthew Hoch

A Little Lunch Music 9/14: AU Faculty Will Tackle Schubert’s Final Song Cycle

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On Thursday from noon to 1 p.m., the series will present a free concert featuring baritone singer Matthew Hoch with pianist Jeremy Samolesky in the Grand Gallery. The duo will perform music by Franz Schubert. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series are helping to make this performance possible.

Click here for the full schedule for A Little Lunch Music and more about the performers.

In addition to a solo piano piece by Schubert, the duo will perform the composer’s final song cycle. Titled “Shwanengesang” and translated “Swan Song,” the publisher released it a few months after Schubert’s death in 1828.

In 2016, Hoch and Samolesky performed Schubert’s first song cycle “Die schöne Müllerin.” Next year, Hoch said they will learn the composer’s second, “Winterreise,” finishing out the composer’s canon of song cycles. “Jeremy and I view this as a rite of passage,” said Hoch.

Hoch said that Samolesky is a fantastic performer of Romantic music, which he added can be difficult to interpret. He said it has an expressive quality that requires a certain looseness that Samolesky can really pull off. “He just has a great way of communicating a piece to an audience so that it makes sense,” said Hoch.

Hoch said he entered music school in college as a saxophonist, but soon became jealous of the singers’ repertoire. He said as a freshman, he heard a concert by famous Dutch soprano Elly Ameling during her farewell tour. “She sang an all-Schubert recital and I was hooked,” he said. Soon after, he switched to study vocal performance.

“Schubert for me is kind of like Shakespeare might be for the English teacher,” said Hoch. “I just find a richness there that I’m never going to get to the bottom of,” he added.

“Schwanengesang” is a collection of fourteen songs that were unpublished when Schubert died at age 31. Hoch said this has caused some debate on the subject of whether it can, in fact, be called a song cycle. Often, a song cycle is a composer’s musical setting of a collection of the work of one poet. This is true of Schubert’s other two cycles, but “Schwanengesang” includes the poems of three poets.

The song cycle’s poets are Ludwig Rellstab, Heinrich Heine, and Johann Gabriel Seidl. Hoch said though there are different poets, the songs are connected by thematic material. He said many of them are in the voice of a man separated from his beloved. Secondly, the idea of a type of character Hoch calls “the wanderer,” common in Romantic German poetry, appears frequently. He also noted the recurrence of melodic ideas.

Rellstab’s work makes up the first seven songs. This group includes the song titled “Ständchen,” translated “Serenade,” which Hoch said is one of Schubert’s most famous melodies. After Rellstab’s poems, Heine’s work makes up the next six songs. Then the final song is the only setting of Seidl’s poetry. “It’s kind of obvious that the publisher put that in to give it some cyclical unity,” Hoch said.

Hoch defends the publisher’s decision to add the third poet. In his program notes, Hoch uses “sinister” to describe the cycle’s second-to-last song, “Der Doppëlganger,” translated “The Wraith.” He described this setting of Heine’s poetry as delivering “a recitative of thrilling terror.”

In contrast, Hoch wrote that the final song with Seidl’s poem “elegantly reflects a more joyful side of the composer’s spirit.” Hoch said it gives listeners a reprieve from the adventurous harmonic language and dark imagery of “Der Doppëlganger.” He said it nicely ties together the full song cycle, even bringing back thematic ideas from the Rellstab poems.

baritone Matthew Hoch

photo credit: Lesley Foote

Installation of Leo Twiggs at Auburn

Museum Live: Sept. 8, 2017

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“Immanuel: A Symposium” was recorded and streamed live at JCSM on the afternoon before the opening of “Leo Twiggs: Requiem for Mother Emanuel.” The symposium provided the opportunity to discuss the African American church, and its historical and contemporary role as both sanctuary and location for civic and political activism.

“Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree: African Americans and the Church in Southern History”

Presented by Dr. Richard Bailey, Alabama historian and retired research specialist

“We Are Charleston”

Presented by Dr. Bernard E. Powers, Jr. Professor of History, College of Charleston

Following this presentation, there will be a break.

“‘The Most Segregated Hour in America’: Churches and Social Justice Across the Color Line, from the Civil Rights Era to the Present”

Presented by Dr. David Carter, Associate Professor of History, Auburn University, and Dr. Johnny Green, Assistant Vice President for Outreach in Student Affairs, Auburn University

Following this presentation, there will be a panel discussion and a break. 

“Requiem for Mother Emanuel,” Dr. Leo Twiggs, Professor Emeritus, South Carolina State University

Please note that this lecture is sold out. A limited amount of seating will be available in the Museum Cafe for a live-stream of the program.

Dr. Twiggs’s lecture will shed light on his conceptualization and resolution of works in his exhibition of nine batik paintings he made in response to the June 17, 2015 massacre in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and to its aftermath and far-reaching consequences.

Opening reception for Requiem for Mother Emanuel immediately follows.

Taking the exhibition as point of departure, the objective of the symposium will be to explore the history of the black church in the U.S., and to open a discussion about the historical intersections between the Christian conversion of enslaved Africans, and the metaphorical and real church as location and catalyst for spiritual and political redemption. “Immanuel,” the Hebrew word for “God is with us,” gave Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church its name, and the concept of “Immanuel” offers a powerful point of departure for both the artwork of Dr. Twiggs and the broader themes the symposium will explore. The symposium will consist of four talks and a panel discussion leading up to the opening artist talk. JCSM has been deliberate in choosing a scholar who can address the history of the African American church both nationally and in Alabama, a scholar from Charleston, and scholars from the local community.

The symposium has been made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Auburn University Special Lectures Fund.

pianist Mary Slaton

A Little Lunch Music 9/7/2017: Mary Slaton Will Open Fall Season

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On Thursday, September 7, from noon to 1 p.m., we will present a free concert as part of our weekly A Little Lunch Music series. The event will feature pianist Mary Slaton in the Grand Gallery, performing her arrangements of popular music going back as far as the 1940s.

Gifts from anonymous friends of the series are helping to make this performance possible.

Click here for the event page with more about the performers and the series’s full schedule.

As the museum reopens after renovations, Slaton will kick off the series’ fall schedule. The pianist has had her own re-construction over the summer, having endured a serious injury last March. She said she broke both bones in her forearm and damaged her wrist. For ten weeks, her hand was immobile.

For decades, Slaton has performed and taught piano. She said she specializes in popular music from the 1940s to the 1970s, but her repertoire includes music from the 1930s to present day.

Musician Patrick McCurry coordinates the weekly series. “I was worried when she said she got hurt,” he said. He has heard Slaton many times, sometimes playing saxophone in her trio. He said when he called to book her for the date, she was still unable to play.

But McCurry said Slaton agreed to perform, saying she would use it as a recovery goal. “She plays these rich, lush chords in her arrangements,” said McCurry, adding that piano music like that requires nimble fingers and hands that can stretch far.

But Slaton said practicing turned out to be a good companion to physical therapy. She said the stretching and exercise it requires helped a lot, and she is now able to perform again. “There are certain chords that I still can’t play,” said Slaton. But she added that she is close to a full recovery, and is ready to play Thursday.

Slaton said she built her arsenal of songs from the gigs she played. “When I started playing, a lot of it happened because people would request songs,” she said. If she didn’t know the song, she would say, “Hum a few bars,” and fake it. Then later she would find the music or the recording and learn the tune.

Slaton said when she was playing the most, in the 1970s and 80s in Memphis and then Atlanta, she would try to keep up with the music that was playing on the radio. After that, the requests at her gigs were mostly from those earlier decades.

“I like the oldies,” she said, adding that she is still learning new songs people want to hear.

Slaton worked briefly for a pest control company in Atlanta and for the IRS in Memphis, the worst job she said has ever had. But her lifetime career has been music. After graduating from the University of Montevallo, she taught piano, chorus, and band at Beauregard School and in Tuskegee before moving to Memphis.

As a single mom with a young son, Slaton was earning her Master’s degree at Memphis State University and playing at the Hilton and Hyatt hotels. She would need babysitters when she played at night, and said she once hired Kerrie McCarver, who would become Jerry Lee Lewis’s sixth wife.

Slaton moved to Atlanta to be closer to family, and played for years there at venues like the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club, and others.

Now living in Opelika since 1995, she is near the Lazenby family farm where she grew up in Beauregard. She has appeared at venues like the now-closed Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club, and the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National among others. She teaches a private studio and plays at churches and events when called on.

Slaton said being in the music business for so long, she has met a lot of famous and colorful characters. She said people ask her, “Why don’t you write a book,” and she answers, “I’m afraid my son would read it.”

pianist Mary Slaton

On September 7, pianist Mary Slaton will return to present classic songs from 1940s and later.

Welcome to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art!

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Upcoming Events

Thu 19

A Little Art Talk (Fall 2017)

October 19 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Thu 19

Third Thursday Poetry Series

October 19 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Sat 21

DIY@JCSM: Plein Air Meetup

October 21 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm