Art and music. On Feb. 22, the two collide in a chamber music program dedicated to Yōkai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan, an exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) that examines Japan’s fascination with the ghostly and demonic figures that have surfaced in its culture throughout history.
The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performs selected movements from Yuko Uébayashi’s Misericordia for Flute and String Quartet; Shirish Korde’s spare and delicate composition for solo flute, Tenderness of Cranes; Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Opus 10; and John Willmarth’s Bushido: The Way of the Warrior for solo timpani. The performance features violinists David Felberg and Nicolle Maniaci, Kim Fredenburgh on viola, cellist Dana Winograd, flautist Jesse Tatum, and Kenneth Dean on timpani. The event concludes with a tour of the Yōkai exhibition led by museum staff. A limited number of tickets are available to the public free of charge.
The event is the first in a new collaboration between the Santa Fe Symphony, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa.
“My main interest is in getting the orchestra, or facets of the orchestra, into nontraditional performance spaces, unique performance spaces,” says Daniel Crupi, the symphony’s executive director. “Considering the rich cultural heritage of Santa Fe and the incredible museum system that we have, it makes a lot of sense to curate our programming around the exhibits that are coming in and that are often national or international in their scope.”
Crupi, who succeeded Gregory W. Heltman as the symphony’s executive director in 2019, has been interested in cross-cultural collaborations from the start of his tenure. Last year, he met with Jamie Clements, president and CEO of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, about the possibility of a partnership. The two of them worked with Khristaan Villela, MOIFA’s executive director, to come up with a musical program surrounding the Yōkai exhibit, which opened in December.
“The traditional canon that you hear in the symphony hall, or even in a chamber music setting, is usually European or American,” Crupi says. “Very rarely do we get to hear Eastern-influenced rep in a town this size. It’s an exciting way for us to reach a different part of the community and produce work we don’t often have an opportunity to perform.”
Not only does such a collaboration increase the possibility for the museum to reach a new audience, Villela says, but it also gives audiences a new way to think about the intersection of art and music.
“Music is an art form that is part of the folk art family,” Villela says. “It’s a great opportunity for us to explore how some of the themes we have in MOIFA exhibitions could have reflections in classical music.”
A second chamber music performance takes place in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art. It features Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite in G major, No.1 for solo cello; Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater for string trio and three voices; and Heinrich Biber’s “The Resurrection” from the Mystery Sonatas, for violin and continuo. The event, which is at 5:30 p.m. on March 5, is inspired by a traveling show of works from the British Museum entitled The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo, which opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on Saturday, Jan. 25. The performance also features Felberg, Fredenburgh, and Winograd, as well as Frederick Frahm on harpsichord and vocal accompaniment by tenor Tjett Gerdom, alto Sarah Nickerson, and soprano Jennifer Perez.
Bishop’s Lodge, which is slated to reopen this summer after a three-year renovation, underwrote both events. The partnership serves as an introduction to the hotel’s arts programming, says Raymond Grant, who was recently made the hotel’s executive producer of arts and culture.
“It’s not lost on me that the cultural enterprises in Santa Fe are extraordinary. Artists give Santa Fe its sense of place, and our focus will be on that,” says Grant, who has served previously as executive director of Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort in Utah and as artistic director of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Bishop’s Lodge plans to partner with New Mexico cultural institutions, including museums, galleries, and symphonies, as well as individual artists, to offer its guests art-making experiences such as writing workshops and classes in folk arts.
For the institutions involved, the cross-cultural model is an opportunity to attract more philanthropy. “The donor base is only going to grow if they open it up to new communities,” Grant says.
The Santa Fe Symphony, for its part, hopes to continue the partnership with the Museum of New Mexico Foundation for future exhibitions and is open to working with other types of venues. “Ongoing collaboration would be the ultimate goal,” Crupi says. “So even if that takes the form of a brewery or a winery, that’s fabulous.” ◀
Jennifer Levin contributed to this story.