When concert halls were shuttered at the height of the pandemic, the Boston Athenæum offered to provide rehearsal space for the Boston Festival Orchestra, and this partnership has since blossomed into a new Chamber Music Series that will pair the BFO’s music with the Athenæum’s art exhibits.
The three-part series, which take place on Feb. 9, April 8, and June 22, respectively, will be free to the public and held within the Henry Long Room at the Athenaeum, located at 10½ Beacon St.
“The concerts will span many time periods, cultures and mediums, prodding us to ask questions such as: Who is art for? In what ways can we use art to connect with our heritage? In what ways can we use art to reconcile with the past?” BFO conductor Alyssa Wang said in a press release.
The first performance, “Materialia Lumina,” takes place on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. as the BFO pairs new and old works of classical music with selections of artists’ books showcased in the Athenaeum’s current gallery exhibition, “Materialia Lumina/Luminous Books.”
The second performance in the series takes place on Saturday, April 8, at 3 p.m., and it’s inspired by “Re-Reading Special Collections,” a new Athenaeum initiative to reinterpret and recontextualize works of art from its permanent collection while reconsidering the constructs of race, gender, and class.
“A Place I Never Knew” – the third and final performance in the series – will take place on Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m. and juxtaposes a series of photographs by local photographer Tira Khan with the BFO’s music to reflect bridges among Khan’s Indian, American, and British heritages.
The performances will include opportunities for audience participation, including a chance to walk through the featured exhibits and speak with artists during post-concert receptions.
“For many audience members, these events may serve as the first introduction to the Boston Athenaeum or the Boston Festival Orchestra,” said Leah Rosovsky, director of the Athenaeum, in a press release. “We hope that by mixing communities we strengthen the entire arts and culture community of Greater Boston.”
The concerts are free to BFO subscribers, Athenaeum members, and the general public, but registration is required at bostonathenaeum.org/events.