To open its 99th season, the Portland Symphony Orchestra celebrates artistic creation through a collaboration with the Maine College of Art and Design newly imagined, original artwork inspired by Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Initially written as a piano suite in 1874 and later orchestrated by composer Maurice Ravel in 1922, Pictures at an Exhibition takes listeners on an auditory journey meant to evoke the experience of traveling through an art exhibit. Mussorgsky wrote the piece as a tribute to one of his closest friends, an artist named Victor Hartmann who passed away suddenly at 39. Each movement of the suite was inspired by one of Hartmann’s works.

In Opening Night: VISUAL SOUNDS, the Portland Symphony Orchestra partnered with MECA&D to demonstrate the powerful relationship between music and the visual arts, and offer a fresh perspective on Pictures at an Exhibition. Using the orchestrated version of the piece, students and faculty created new artworks to accompany the movements. During the concert, photos of their creations will be projected above the orchestra and the original works will be available to view by appointment at MECA&D.

MECA&D MFA Student, Movement 7-Limoges (“The Market”)

In addition to Pictures at an Exhibition, the concert will also include a performance of the unabridged version of George Gerschwin’s An American in Paris, which paints a vivid soundscape of the French city, Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ serene “Serenade to Music,” and two selections from operas by Giuseppe Verdi: the passionate “Va, penierso” (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from “Nabucco,” and the exuberant Anvil Chorus from “The Troubadour.” ChoralArt Masterworks will join the PSO for the three choral pieces.

Tickets are available online at, or by calling the box office, PortTIX, at 207-842-0800. The concert is partially funded by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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