Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu


Arts and Culture

"Painted Music" Integrates Music with Live Artistic Creation

By Maggie Barrett

Painted Music: The Art of Sound, the Sound of Art, a multimedia, interactive arts event featuring painters in action and music developed for an art exhibition, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21, on the third floor of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.

Created and directed by Jerzy Sapieyevski, an award-winning composer and pianist and a professor at AU, the program features Katherine Sable and Kate Gartrell, painters and AU grad students, and painter Sarah Jayne Bleiweis interacting and responding openly to music written exclusively for this event.

The first segment, Painted Music, is a moment-specific composition in which the painters—while performing live—interact with and respond to sounds, notes, tones, and rhythms from a piano solo and electronic sound while their paintings evolve in front of the audience.

What About Beethoven?, the second segment, is based on art and music born out of the adversity and injustice shown in Beethoven’s creativity and artist Evri Kwong’s artwork. Kwong’s works will be featured in an exhibition at the museum titled Evri Kwong: Just Pretend Everything Is OK. Beethoven’s attempt to improve the world and fulfill the desire for intimacy, friendship, and love through his music provides the inspiration for Sapieyevski’s composition, along with the background of Kwong’s exhibition.

The program is inspired by Sapieyevski’s admiration for three twentieth century pioneers of modern art: Russian abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky, who saw music in colors; Spanish surrealist Joan Miro, who improvised while developing images on canvas; and American Abstract-Expressionist Jackson Pollock, who developed his body-conscious “action painting” to explore new ways of making art.

Sapieyevski, founder and artistic director of NewCenturyMusic, has taught at American University since 1975. His commissions, performances, and awards include those at and from the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, numerous radio and television programs, several ASCAP awards, and a Helen Hayes nomination. A native of Poland, he performs frequently in his home nation and received the Knight Cross of the Order of Merit in 2005.


Katzen Arts Center: The landmark 130,000 square foot curved complex opened in summer 2005. The Katzen includes a 30,000 square foot three story art museum and sculpture garden; a sky-lit entrance rotunda; three performance venues; an electronics studio; numerous practice rooms; a 215 seat concert hall; new rehearsal and recital halls; classrooms; and an underground garage with 550 parking spaces.

Tickets: $15 adults; $10 AU community and seniors and $5 for students are available for purchase on the Web.