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TTU News


Tennessee Tech University art students next week will work with a professional, California-based artist to create a large painting on an empty black wall in the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

The installation will bring to life a 19th-century composition that was one of the “craziest” pieces of its time: “Symphonie Fantastique,” by the French composer Hector Berlioz.

The painting will be finished in time for the Bryan Symphony Orchestra’s 3 p.m. Nov. 10 performance of the piece.

“I always want to break down the wall between music and art,” said Dan Allcott, music professor and orchestra conductor. “I want people to be able to experience music in a very open way.

“I think it’s a good idea for us all to come together.”

The art project will be directed and led by Joseph Biel, an art professor from California State University Fullerton, who specializes in large-scale drawings and installations.

Biel will be on campus Nov. 5-10. Oddi and Allcott are hosting Biel’s visit, which is sponsored by TTU’s Center Stage. Center Stage is supported by the TTU general education fund.

“Biel is a great painter and he has a pretty intense knowledge of classical music,” Allcott said. “His dad was a violinist and one of my teachers.”

Berlioz’s piece tells a somewhat autobiographical story of obsession. As a young composer, Berlioz became infatuated with an actress and wrote the five-section composition weaving a melody throughout the sections that reminded him of her. The piece begins with him waking up, thinking of her; seeing her unexpectedly at a ball; thinking of her in a meadow; being killed for love of her; and finding her at a witches’ party in the afterlife.

What will take shape on the now-black wall in the Bryan Fine Arts Building is still a mystery.

“I don’t want to create an expectation, I just want us to open the way we see and listen to things,” Allcott said. “I think art is something that should disturb our senses and I mean that in the best possible sense. If something is profound, it should have an effect on us.”