Extension Division launches concert series with Zimmerli Art Museum

In October 2014, the Mason Gross School’s Extension Division, which offers arts programming to the community, launched a free Sunday afternoon concert series at the university’s Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick.

The series, Music at the Museum, is open to the public and features hour-long concerts performed by members of the Extension Division’s music faculty in the museum’s Lower Dodge Gallery.

“This is a way to introduce Zimmerli patrons to what our faculty members do and to bring our community of parents, students, and faculty into the museum,” says Christopher Kenniff, director of the Extension Division.

He and Zimmerli interim director Marti Mayo organized five concerts throughout the fall and spring semesters. Plans for the collaboration include co-sponsoring visual arts classes geared toward both children and adults.

“We’re two thriving arts entities within the same university,” Kenniff says. “Why not connect?”

Concerts have highlighted opera and art songs, guitar music, and works for piano, mostly in the classical realm. Performances showcase diverse repertoire that is often selected with the museum’s collection in mind. Fall concerts drew special attention to the Zimmerli’s extensive collection of Soviet Nonconformist art by featuring selections by composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dimitri Shostakovich.

Kenniff says he hopes that the collaboration will encourage audience members to experience the vital connection between the worlds of music and visual arts. In fact, after each concert audience members are invited to join guided tours of the Zimmerli’s galleries.

“Across all eras, the arts developed and flourished side-by-side,” Kenniff says. “Offering today’s audience the opportunity to enjoy great music and great art together makes sense.”

Visit the Extension Division Blog for pictures and concert programs.

Posted April 2015