Faculty & Friends Concert: "Vanitas"

flowers in a vase, painting by Andrew Leventis
September 19, 2023 - 7:30 PM
Rowe Recital Hall

The Department of Music and the Department of Art & Art History collaborate to present a special mulitmedia Faculty & Friends Concert on the theme of Vanitas. Guest pianist Cynthia Lawing of Davidson College joins UNC Charlotte music faculty Dylan Savage, piano, and David Russell, violin, in music that explores the vanitas theme, with commentary and visual projections by art faculty Bonnie Noble and Andrew Leventis.

Vanitas (Latin for "vanity), which emphasizes the impermanence of life and the futility of earthly pleasures, appears as a subject or topic in art as far back as the Middle Ages, most often in the still life genre. During the pandemic, Leventis, who is a painting professor, began a series of works that explore vanitas in contemporary society (see above, a detail of his painting "Bloom Where You are Planted"). 

“In a traditional sense, vanitas alludes to themes of plague, desperation, dehumanization, and loss,” he writes in an artist statement.  “Although I have previously looked in this direction for inspiration, these historical paintings of the fleeting world feel more immediate to me than ever. I now see them as compassionate pictures rather than merely ones of dark, glittering glamour."

The program includes music by Ravel, Brahms, Astor Piazzolla, and Pablo de Sarasate. See the full program here.