Hearst the Collector, a Soundtrack

Nicolas Regnier, Divine Inspiration of Music, from the William Randolph Hearst Collection

Nicolas Regnier, Divine Inspiration of Music, circa 1640

It’s always an interesting process to find the musical focus for one of our exhibitions or featured artists for our Art & Music concerts. Our recent Basquiat celebration was a slam dunk—Basquiat included his inspiring musical forces Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in his paintings. But programming the music for this coming Monday’s Hearst the Collector concert was more complex, as the focus of the exhibition is infinitely broader.

My first step was, of course, to speak with the curator and educator for Hearst, Mary Levkoff and Mary Lenihan. It turned out that much of the Hearst exhibition would be featuring exquisite works from the Baroque era, so I turned to the perfect musician to represent that period—J.S Bach—with a “Bach & Beyond” theme.

But looking at Hearst the man, the collector, was a little more problematic. His musical tastes were very eclectic, as were his pursuits beyond art. To capture the forward-thinking Hearst, I’m presenting a fascinating new work, 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg. This marvelous piece uses the theme from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and, through thirteen wonderful and wildly disparate contemporary composers—including Lukas Foss, Jennifer Higdon, Fred Hersch, and David del Tredici—gives us a fresh look at this classic work. Presented along with Bach’s English Suite, 13 Ways give us a real soundtrack to the Hearst the Collector.

Mitch Glickman, Director of Music Programs

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