Cleveland Museum of Art Lines Up Wide-Ranging Series for Gartner Auditorium and Transformer Station

By Daniel Hathaway

50-foot-long string instruments; traditional music from the Republic of Kyrgyz, Ireland’s “Wild West,” and the Balkans; dialogues between deep flamenco song and Iranian classical music; Egyptian classical music of the golden age; an a cappella sound track to a silent film about Joan of Arc; two prominent string quartets, an organ recital, and a multifaceted violinist — that list gives just a quick rundown on the variety of concerts the Cleveland Museum of Art has planned for its 2015-2016 Performing Arts Series, both in Gartner Auditorium at the museum and at its near-West Side gallery, Transformer Station.

In a conversation with, Tom Welsh, director of CMA’s Performing Arts series, described the season’s offerings as “broad” and representing “a full expanse of human activity,” adding that the audiences for the series can look forward to experiencing types of music “that might not yet have made their ways into your life.”

Composer Ellen Fullman (pictured above) plays what she calls the “Long String Instrument.” A set of wires 50 feet or more in length, tuned in “just” or untempered intonation and set in motion by her rosin-coated fingers, will be installed at Transformer Station for Fullman’s triptych of concerts with guest cellist Theresa Wong on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 24, 25, and 26 at 7:30 pm. As much a choreographic as a musical experience, Fullman’s unusual instrument has been described as “a mechanical cobweb, and Fullman was the spider not the fly.”

Many of us would be hard-pressed to find the Republic of Kyrgyz on a world map (the former Soviet state is surrounded by Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). Besides providing entertainment, traditional Kyrgyz music underlined social and moral value and its musicians were highly regarded as cultural leaders. Musician and composer Nurlanbek Nyshanov has dedicated himself to keeping its traditions alive, and his ensemble Ustatshakirt Plus, incorporating wood flute (choor), bowed two-string instrument (kyl kiyak), three-string apricot-wood instrument (komuz), and jaw harp, will play both traditional and newly-composed music in Gartner Auditorium on Sunday, October 4 at 2:00 pm. Read the entire preview on
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