Local Artist Brushes With The Classics

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, November 3, 2005

Since cavemen first beat bone on skin drum, and scraped animal images on cave walls, there’s been a close connection between music and visual art.  On Saturday night, Sacramento’s Camellia Symphony will celebrate this profound relationship with a program titled “Galleria,” featuring visually inspired works by Mussorgsky and Respighi, as well as Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto with performance artist David Garibaldi, who’ll create a new work on stage while the piece is being played. 

Garibaldi’s brush strokes are normally inspired by rock or hip-hop.  Inside his West Sacramento studio he told me he’s looking forward to the classical experience.

"I like painting with excitement and movement and energy and rhythm, jumpin’ around so when it gets to this third movement you’re going to see me working out on that stage, I mean it’s like training for a basketball game, you know, I’m going to be movin’ around to this stuff."

The Memorial Auditorium stage will become Garibaldi’s studio as he reacts to the orchestra’s performance of Ibert’s Concerto, featuring flute soloist Alice Lenaghan.

"I’m looking forward to seeing what the artist is going to do.  I’m not sure of what colors he’s going to use, but I’m looking forward to see how he thinks it sounds."

Of course, Lenaghan will be painting her own musical soundscapes with her flute. But when asked to imagine how a visual artist might approach the piece, she came up with some colorful ideas.

"I’m thinking the first movement to me sounds silver and yellow; it’s very brilliant, very sparkly, perhaps like sunlight on water or sunlight through crystal glass.  While the middle movement to me is more velvety it’s purple and blue."

As for David Garibaldi, he too is running colors through his mind as he
listens to a recording of Ibert’s concerto.  But, just as live music
performances differ slightly each time; Garibaldi says his work is all
about spontaneity…

"Every time I’m on stage, even if I’ve done the same painting before, it comes out different every single time.  And whether it’s a representation of the colors I choose to use, or the way I’m actually painting it, I still haven’t decided.  It’s one of those things that you try to visualize it as long as you can, and it really doesn’t all come together until that night."

Colored paints, brushes and canvas are the tools of Garibaldi’s trade, as much as the flute and the score are tools for Lenagan.  But musicians also get to express themselves on stage.  As a performance artist, so does Garibaldi."

"I put a lot more showmanship into the show, so that’s what the exciting part is; is that I’m not just painting, that I am entertaining, and I’m moving and I’m really getting into the rhythm and the love for the music...

When you go in galleries you see the finished product, and with what I’m doing on stage is the creative process, it’s the work in progress, it’s my thoughts, and my mistakes, and my corrections.  You get to see me in a vulnerable position."

Performance artist David Garibaldi appears with the Camellia Symphony Orchestra Saturday at 8 p.m. in Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium.  The concert will include performances of Respighi’s ‘Three Boticelli Pictures’, and Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ accompanied by large screen projections of the paintings that inspired the music.