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Posted on September 16, 2011

Watch Dr. Yugo Ikach discuss the upcoming Washington Symphony Orchastra event during an interview on Comcast Newsmakers.

Picture this: For six entertaining minutes, two Cal U faculty members from unrelated disciplines will collaborate in front of an audience.

Dr. Yugo Ikach, associate professor of music, and Todd Pinkham, assistant professor of art and design, will perform their crafts simultaneously on Oct. 8 at Trinity High School Auditorium.

Ikach is the music director and principal conductor of the Washington Symphony Orchestra. He will conduct “Picture This,” a concert that blends music with art.

Before the program’s intermission, Pinkham and local artist Jeff Katrencik will paint onstage while the orchestra performs Borodin's "In the Steppes of Central Asia.”

“I’m always looking to do new, fun things, and I’ve been looking at music for this concert for about a year,” said Ikach, who also directs the University Choir.

“There are a lot of composers who have been inspired by a painting. Some even used the title of a painting for their piece of music — and that got me thinking.”

Pinkham will be painting in reaction to a 19th-centry piece written for a Russian monarch. He envisions having a very sparse landscape in place when the music begins, and said he may create a caravan heading off into the distance.

“I’ve got to adhere to a certain tradition and discipline, but this is an era of change where there are a lot of things changing peoples’ perspectives,” he said.

“Performance art is a strong thing, and Yugo gets it. I’m excited and looking forward to this.”

Performance art dates to the 1960s, explained Pinkham, former art director at Dargate Auction Galleries in Pittsburgh. He said he’s inspired by the late performance artists Denny Dent and Andrew Jones, and he shows YouTube videos of both artists to his students.

“I’ve always like the quote that art is basically a reflection of the times it’s made in,” Pinkham said. “Artists are using a lot of visual components, and I have a lot of influences that I see around me. I’m really trying to understand the world now using these other tools."

The concert will focus on music that inspired, or was inspired by, art. The orchestra also will perform Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition, Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" and Purse's "Sketches of America.” 

Paintings by local artists will be exhibited in the lobby at Trinity, but Ikach said he was looking for something beyond the obvious. He recalled seeing online artists creating artworks in front of an audience while recorded music played."

“I thought, ‘Why don’t we get someone to create right in front of us?’ Ikach said.

“The first person I thought of was Todd Pinkham, because he’s an artist who’s not afraid to try things. He was game right from the start.” 

Ikach said the orchestra will be rehearsing independently, but Pinkham will join the musicians for a rehearsal the day before the concert.

“I love the cross-fertilization between departments, and this is a more likely marriage than had I gone to the Accounting Department,” he joked.

“We can learn from each other. How Todd and his department approach art may be a little different than how the Music Department approaches art.”

At all Washington Symphony Orchestra concerts, Cal U students are admitted free of charge with a valid CalCard.

Ikach regularly urges students from all majors to attend live events.

“I think it’s going to be neat, and I’m obviously excited about this,” he said. “It will be something to see.”   

The Washington Symphony Orchestra will perform “Picture This” at 8 p.m.  Oct. 8 in Trinity High School Auditorium, 231 Park Avenue in Washington, Pa. Ticket price is $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens; Cal U students are admitted free with a valid CalCard. For more information, call Sandy Sabot at 724-223-9796

Watch Dr. Yugo Ikach discuss the upcoming Washington Symphony Orchastra event during an interview on Comcast Newsmakers.