Visual Artist Lennie Peterson In Collaboration With Osvaldo Golijov and The Knights
On May 15, 2009, Lennie Peterson presented an art exhibition, created specially for a concert by The Knights – including arrangements and orchestrations of Franz Schubert’s music by Grammy- winning new music composer Osvaldo Golijov. The concert was sponsored by New York University's Institute for Humanities and was held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts.
Peterson’s large portraits of the concert’s five featured composers, Franz Schubert, Osvaldo Golijov, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, and Beethoven as well as author Samuel Beckett, were displayed on the walls of the Orensanz Foundation Center. The portraits are a part of an ongoing series that combines Peterson’s lifelong devotion to art, music and arts education. The original artwork is hand-drawn with pen, ink and oil paint and is three-feet wide and six-feet high. They were exhibited at the concert along with many other of Peterson’s drawings.
“Creating composers' portraits on a large scale is my way of paying tribute to Artists whose music has the power to change the world,” says Peterson. “Composers who, in my opinion, deserve to be larger than life! I can accomplish this through portraiture – and pursue my passion to further proote the marriage of music and visual art. The opportunity to do this project with The Knights, and Osvaldo Golijov was a thrill.”
The Angel Orensanz Foundation Center is a neo-gothic building which was designed as a synagogue in 1849 by Berlin architect Alexander Seltzer. Seltzer’s design was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral and the German romantic movement of Heinrich Heine and Beethoven.
“Architecturally, I feel the Orensanz Foundation Center is a perfect setting for my work – not just because of the aesthetic atmosphere of the venue but because the images will surround the orchestra that will be set up in the middle of the concert hall.“
Peterson compares the creative process of his original artwork to that of a jazz musician.
“Most of the work on a portrait is improvised and spontaneous once the basic outline is complete. It is similar to a musician who is able to improvise freely and spontaneously within a given form and framework of chord structures.”
The artwork of award-winning artist Lennie Peterson has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, including the Ceres Gallery in New York City; the Brenda Taylor Gallery, the Atlantic Works Gallery and Bromfield Gallery in Boston.
“The Big Picture,” his nationally syndicated daily comic strip appeared in more than 100 newspapers and was published as a book collection by Andrews/McMeel Publishing. In addition, Peterson has written and illustrated nearly a dozen books. As a trombonist, he has toured with Osvaldo Golijov’s “La Pasion Seguin San Marcus.” He was a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and on the faculty of the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, Massachusetts.
Peterson has traveled the world extensively as an artist, musician, and educator.
The Knights (http://www.knightsmusic.net), a New York-based ensemble performs internationally. The group is also very active in the New York area, performing in a diverse array of venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tonic, the Brooklyn Lyceum, Le Poisson Rouge, Celebrate Brooklyn and the Whitney Museum. The extensive repertoire of this young orchestra takes in masterworks from the past and the present, often in collaboration with other artists.
Members of The Knights have performed as soloists with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic, and appeared at national and international music festivals, including Marlboro, Tanglewood, Verbier, Stillwater, Lucerne, Salzburg and Moritzburg. Members of The Knights also include members of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. The Knights have recorded two albums for SONY Classical.