Pictures at an Exhibition

Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. Mussorgsky composed the suite in honor of his friend Viktor Hartmann, after viewing an exhibition of Hartmann’s work following the artist’s premature death. From a young age, I’ve been enthralled by movements such as “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs” (in itself a fascinating tale for a young child) and “The Great Gate of Kiev.” When I was contacted by a representative of the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra to say that they were performing Pictures at an Exhibition and were looking for artists to produce work during the performance, it gave me pause. I have never drawn as performance, but given that it’s one of my favorite pieces, it seemed like an opportunity that just couldn’t be passed up. The performance will happen next Sunday, October 24, and I’ll be one of three featured artists. It will push me, for sure, to produce work on command, but I hope that in hindsight it will have been a rewarding experience.

(Contrary to the article, I’ll be drawing, not painting)



  1. I am intrigued by your upcoming project, and as president of IKVA (=International Kartinki s Vystavki Association), an organization devoted to promoting Mussorgsky’s Pictures in all of its many arrangements, I would love to see a copy of the drawing that results from your hearing of this work. If possible, please send a photo of it to me at the above email address. With your permission, I might want to use it in a video collage of artwork inspired by Pictures at an Exhibition that I want to show during a performance of an arrangement that I made of the work. Many thanks, David

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