I’m really delighted to be collaborating on a series of musical pairings for the Bruce Museum’s Collection and Exhibition Favorites Digital Series. For each installment, I compose an original piece, inspired by the selected painting or exhibition. The Bruce Museum is a community based, world-class institution highlighting art, science, and natural history in more than a dozen changing exhibitions annually. The permanent galleries feature the natural sciences that encompass regional to global perspectives. The museum is located in Greenwich, Connecticut, and to learn more, visit: www.brucemuseum.org.

Charles Howard Davis, The Old Pasture, 1916

I recorded this particular composition on a guitar made by French luthier, Aubry-Marie, from Mirecourt, ca. 1830. I thought the instrument was a nice fit for Davis’ artistic style, given the painter’s extensive studies in Paris and influence by the French Barbizon style. Visit the original posting here for a wonderful description of Charles Howard Davis and The Old Pasture, written by Laura Freeman, Bruce Museum Membership Manager⁠.

Love Letters: Dutch Genre Paintings in the Age of Vermeer

As I looked at the paintings in this collection, my imagination ventured into the far-off world of the Netherlands in the 1600s. Letter writing was just starting to become an important part of people’s lives. Painters were greatly inspired to depict people writing and receiving letters, which often contained messages of life-changing events. The collection featured works by Vermeer, Gabriel Metsu, Gerard ter Borch, and numerous other Dutch masters of the 17th and 18th centuries. I was inspired to create a piece of music that evoked the “sense of private, personal inner life,” as art critic Aidan Dunne wrote about the exhibit. First, I drew upon a Dutch folk tune, “Drie Schutterbroers,” which is heard in the introduction. Following this lively melody, I re-imagined the music that the people in these paintings would have heard. To enter this soundscape, I looked to compositional styles of the 1600s, and performed on a baroque guitar, modeled after a 10-string instrument from the year 1690. To read more about this incredibly special exhibit, which was first shown at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2003, visit the following New York Times article by Brian Lavery: An International Debut for the Bruce Museum. Visit the original posting here for a lovely description of the exhibition by Denny Elliot, Docent Emeritus, Bruce Museum.