Placitas Artists Series fundraiser melds music, art

Jun. 8—The Placitas Artists Series is discovering the music of painting through a trio, a conductor and an abstract artwork.

Slated for the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 9, the fundraising event features conductor and arts educator Oliver Prezant, violinist Carla Kountoupes, clarinetist Jerry Weimer and cellist Katie Harlow.

Participants will explore "Vitality" by award-winning Placitas artist Dianna Shomaker.

Prezant will ask for audience impressions of the painting as he guides their attention to various aspects of the work, exploring the expressive implications of line, shape, color, texture and mood. The conductor and musicians will listen to the observations and develop musical ideas based on the input.

"Our focus is the audience's relationship to the work of art, so musical style is not the first consideration," Prezant said. "Ultimately, the painting becomes a 'musical score' that I can conduct from, and everyone has been a part of the creative process.

"We're very excited to be able to present this program in Placitas — and to be working with one of Dianna Shomaker's vibrant, expressive, abstract paintings," Prezant continued. "Art and music are always a part of Placitas Artists Series events, so this 'Discovering the Music of Paintings' program, which brings art, music and the audience together, seems like a natural fit."

Wendy Wilkins, PAS board president, has attended several of Prezant's Discovering programs, which featured the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other composers. "Audience members, whether seasoned or novice concert-goers, come away with a new and deeper understanding of musical artistry," Wilkins said.

"And now, with the addition of a visual art component, the 'discovery' encompasses a new and exciting dimension of creative work."

The cost to attend this fundraising event is $75 per person, which includes $35 in tax-deductible donation to the PAS endowment fund.

For tickets and additional details, go to the PAS website at

Prezant was the music director and conductor of the Santa Fe Community Orchestra for 20 years and has taught at College of Santa Fe and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. He has presented lectures and education programs for the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Albuquerque and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, as well as programs on art and music for the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and the New Mexico Museum of Art.