Delaware Art Museum expands into music and dance performances

Delaware Art Museum’s resident chamber ensemble, the Pyxis Piano Quartet, opens the museum's performance series. (Pyxis Piano Quartet/Facebook photo)

Delaware Art Museum’s resident chamber ensemble, the Pyxis Piano Quartet, opens the museum's performance series. (Pyxis Piano Quartet/Facebook photo)

The Delaware Art Museum is planning an eclectic line-up of musical performances to reaffirm the museum’s mission to engage audiences in an exploration of artistic creation through stimulating conversation and performance.

“In 2019, the series continues the dual focus on cutting-edge performances and social justice,” said Jonathan Whitney, the museum’s manager of performance programs and community engagement.

The series opens Thursday with a performance by the museum’s resident chamber ensemble, the Pyxis Piano Quartet. The program, titled “The Feminine Mystique,” complements the museum’s exhibition of the works of pre-Raphaelite painter and19th-century women’s rights advocate, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-91). To honor her legacy, Pyxis will present a program of works by women composers, including Rebecca Clark, Gwyneth Walker, Germaine Tailleferre and Dora Pejačević.

South Korean band Black String makes its much-anticipated appearance on Jan. 18. The ensemble whose motto is “Borderless contemporary music from Korea,” explores the intersection of Eastern musical styles with Western jazz. The four-member ensemble brings together traditional Korean percussion, a string instrument called a “geomungo,” and bamboo flutes and jazz guitar to create a unique sound that demonstrates cultural communication.

“They are only in the country for a couple of weeks and when the opportunity came to bring them to the museum, we jumped on it,” Whitney said. “There will be a performance during the day for school children, then a public performance at night, then a cross-cultural jam session on Saturday with local musicians.”

The museum welcomes the Philadelphia-based choir The Crossing on Feb. 7. Formed by a group of friends in 2005, this Grammy-Award winning ensemble under the direction of Donald Nelly focuses on new music, commissions and premiere works, collaborating with various venues and instrumental groups. In addition to the public performance, The Crossing will also work with advanced members of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, affording them the opportunity to work with one of the country’s top choral conductors.

 “Lifted!,” a dance theater work created by the hip-hop dance pioneer Dr. Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris treats audiences to its blend of powerful house rhythms and moving gospel vocals on March 8. The work which will be performed at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington tells the story of a young man who must choose between living a proper life and the lure of the streets. During the company’s weeklong residency in Wilmington, the museum will offer workshops to schools and the public as well as two school-day performances.

The Danny Green Trio brings its blend of jazz, classical and Brazilian elements to the museum’s Fusco Hall on March 28. In addition to the public performance, composer Green and his musicians will also conduct a jazz workshop for classical musicians at Music School of Delaware’s Wilmington branch.

Pyxis returns on May 2 with a program of traditional chamber repertoire as well as a commissioned piece by Wilmington-based composer David Schelat.

The series wraps on July 25 with a performance of “Fanm d’Ayiti” by flutist and vocalist Nathalie Joachim. Fanm d’Ayiti is an attempt to draw attention to the under-recognized women of Haitian song and to explore their personal stories as they relate to Afro-Caribbean culture, society, history, and music by giving them an international platform.

Joachim’s performance will coincide with the exhibition “Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago,” which is on display June 22 through Sept. 8.

For more information on dates, times and venues and to purchase tickets, go to www.delart.org.

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