The piano four-hand duo called ZOFO – Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi – will be presenting a world premiere this Saturday, inspired by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. They commissioned 15 composers to write short works inspired by pieces of art, which will be displayed during the performance of ZOFOMOMA. They’re connected by a recurring theme, variations Nakagoshi wrote, based on the familiar Mussorgsky “Promenade.”
There’s more about the admission-free concert this Saturday, and the project at ZOFO‘s website.
When they made the commissions, each composer had a staggered timeline. The pieces began to arrive from the composers about a year and a half ago, and only very recently did they receive the final movement. The order in which they are played remained somewhat serendipitous, as one might feel at an actual physical art show. “The idea is really to take people on this exhibit,” Zimmermann says, “and just walk from one painting to the other, basically. And we don’t know what comes next, and so we’re reflecting on what we just saw and heard, and then we… Maybe from far we see the next painting that we want to spend some time in front of.” Nakagoshi knew his interstitial music would help smooth the transitions. “I knew that the Promenade can fix… just kind of make it more organic, and that’s what I did.” There are composers from as far afield as China, Cuba, Poland, Australia, Azerbaijan, and Argentina. One of the composer/artwork pairs represents the Bay Area: Samuel Adams was inspired by an Agnes Martin piece called “Night Sea” that can be found at SFMOMA.