At 8 p.m. on September 17 and 18, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the Grand Tour. The event invites guests to enjoy a rotation of four concerts in four of the New European Paintings Galleries, where the music will be representative of the era of the art. (For example, in “Gallery 607—Venetian Sixteenth-Century Painting,” Tenet will perform music by Luca Marenzio and Claudio Monteverdi while surrounded by Tintoretto, Titian, and Veronese paintings.)
Here, Quest‘s interview with Limor Tomer, general manager of Concerts and Lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, about the Grand Tour:
Q: Tell us about the relationship between art and music at the Grand Tour?
LT: It’s kind of unprecedented. It’s not unprecedented to have music in galleries—a lot of museums are doing it more and more. What we’re doing is an example of what I would call “chronological adjacency,” which is where you have art and music from the same period being experienced at the same time. It’s not necessarily my favorite way of making connections between performance and visuals, but for this event I thought it was exactly the right way to approach the reopening of the reinstalled galleries.
Q: Why is the event so unprecedented?
LT: It’s sort of a historical recreation, almost—a reenactment. The challenge was to make it dynamic, to show more than one gallery and to expand the potential audience. The presentation is really what’s unprecedented, not the idea of having French baroque music in a French baroque room. There are four performances in four galleries and the audience will travel through the entire suite. If you start in “Gallery 615—History, Portraits, and Genre in Eighteenth-Century France,” you’ll then travel to “Gallery 634—Dutch Paintings in the Altman Collection” and so forth. The musicians are playing each concert four times.
Q: What sort of experience with art and music should a participant have?
LT: It takes less knowledge to join the Grand Tour than to go and hear a Mozart concert at the Philharmonic because the scale of it is so intimate and the music is so immediate. The fact that you’ll be in the room having time to look at the paintings while sitting down is something you don’t usually get to do in a gallery. You know, you go to a gallery and the average amount of time spent on each painting is seven seconds My secret agenda is to lower the threshold of entry, both to the music and to the paintings.
Q: Do you have a favorite gallery?
LT: I totally don’t! I’m so overwhelmed with the new galleries and the way that I respond to them. The spaciousness, the intimacy—the combination of both in each room. Each painting has room to breathe and the harmony of the room and the colors of the walls and how they support the paintings… I experience all of that very musically. I don’t have a favorite, although the Dutch Golden Age is so stunning.
For more information about the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to purchase tickets to the Grand Tour, please visit www.metmuseum.org.