Abstraction in Music & Art

MAY 19, 2019
Sunday at 2 PM

Part of the series Sight & Sound

Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra, the NY premiere of Feldman’s Orchestra, and the artwork of the Abstract Expressionists

In the hit series Sight & Sound, conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts. A discussion is accompanied by musical excerpts and on-screen artworks, then a full performance and audience Q&A.

Painters have often been inspired by music as the ultimate abstract art form. Musical abstraction started with the radical modernist Anton Webern, freeing the form from the conventions of late Romanticism. At the movement’s height, experimental composer Morton Feldman mirrored the painters and took his inspiration from abstract visual art.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue from December 17, 2018.


The Music: Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra and Feldman’s Orchestra (NY Premiere)

The Artwork: Works by the Abstract Expressionists

Program Detail

Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein discusses the parallels between Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra & Feldman’s Orchestra and the artwork of the Abstract Expressionists, accompanied by musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now and on-screen artworks.
1 hr

20 min

Full performances
Anton Webern Six Pieces for Orchestra
10 min

Morton Feldman Orchestra (NY Premiere)
18 min

Audience Q&A
10 min

All timings are approximate.


60-Second Thumbnail: Abstraction in Music & Art

TŌN percussionist Miles Salerni on Morton Feldman’s Orchestra

Anton Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philharmonic

Jackson Pollock (American, Cody, Wyoming 1912–1956 East Hampton, New York). Number 28, 1950 (detail), 1950, Enamel on canvas, 68 1/8 x 105 in. (173 x 266.7 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, in honor of her grandchildren, Ellen Steinberg Coven and Dr. Peter Steinberg, 2006 (2006.32.51) © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York