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Student Artwork Inspired by Handel’s “Samson” on Display at Symphony Hall

Creative collaboration between the Handel and Haydn Society and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design continues with Project: Handel 

 Artwork will be on display Friday evening, May 2 and Sunday afternoon, May 4 at Symphony Hall’s Cabot-Cahners Room

April 17, 2014 (Boston, MA) —  The Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design are proud to announce the continuation of a unique creative partnership, now in its third year. Under the instruction of MassArt faculty members, junior class students in the Illustration department have created works of visual art inspired by Handel’s Samson. Twelve works will be on view at Symphony Hall’s Cabot-Cahners Room during the same weekend that H+H performs Handel’s dramatic oratorio.

Through Project: Handel, H+H and MassArt have explored the impact of multidisciplinary learning; demonstrated ways in which a performing arts organization and an artistic institution of higher education can engage students, educators, concertgoers, and the global internet community; and tested the public’s conception of the arts.

In October and February, H+H Historically Informed Performance Fellow Teresa Neff and H+H musicians visited MassArt classes to give students greater insight into who Handel was, how he approached composition, the story of Samson, and the music of this masterwork. On Tuesday, April 15, a panel of MassArt faculty and H+H patrons selected the 12 works to display at Symphony Hall. All project-related artwork, which ranges from ethereal abstraction to comic-book directness, is available for view on Handel and Haydn Society’s website, handelandhaydn.org/massart-samson.  Most images are accompanied by artist statements.

This educational initiative began in 2012 when H+H performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. It was such a success that the partners were eager to continue the collaboration, creating visual art to Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and now, Project: Handel.

“What we love about this partnership with MassArt is the incredible creative synergy,” says H+H Director of Bicentennial and Community Engagement Emily Yoder Reed. “It’s been a fun and effective way to break down the wall between the musicians and the audience, and build community engagement through another medium.”

“This is a terrific partnership opportunity,” says Linda Bourke, Chair of the Illustration Department at MassArt. “Our students learn about music and history through the process and then create illustrations that offer music patrons various points of view to contemplate. The process, including writing artist statements about their work, readies them for the professional creative economy.”

This collaboration will continue next year with Haydn’s Creation.