NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Museum of American Art kicked off a two-part concert series Sunday in an ongoing celebration of city native and conceptual artist Sol LeWitt.
Counterpoint and Line in Art and Music: Sol LeWitt and the Interplay of Forms - the first of two shows - filled the NBMAA’s Stanley Works Center.
NBMAA Director of Operations Jeffrey Mainville, who also manages the museum’s musical programs, offered the crowd some background into LeWitt’s early life in New Britain.
“He was raised on Cedar Street,” Mainville said.
The NBMAA had the distinct honor of hosting the artist’s very first exhibition in 1949 and to this day, possesses the largest collection of LeWitt’s work.
In addition to Sunday’s concert, the museum has hosted docent-led tours, curator discussions and print-making workshops in conjunction with the LeWitt exhibition, on display from Sept. 18-Jan. 9, 2022.
“This is one of many exhibition-related events designed to go with our current show, “Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints,” Mainville explained.
Sunday’s performer, The West Eng String Quartet, was introduced by American composer and music scholar Neely Bruce.
“This will be their first post-pandemic public performance,” Bruce said of the quartet, which performed excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Art of Fugue.
LeWitt had many friends who were musicians and his work inspired composers including Bruce. He curated a collection of thousands of cassette tapes, which he listened while creating art, but also during his daily reading sessions.
“Sol LeWitt listened to music constantly,” Bruce said. “We know more about Sol LeWitt’s taste in music than any other artist who ever lived.”
His favorite composer was Bach, whose music comprises much of the NBMAA concert series.
The second part of the series takes place Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Pianist Neely Bruce will perform the Aria, with variations in the Italian manner, by Bach; four friendly Fugues by Bruce, and four preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One, by Bach.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.