This Saturday, experience a cultural fusion of art that is visual, audible, and sensual. The Salem Symphony has stepped up their game with their upcoming performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, and A Night On Bald Mountain, bringing together a collaboration of local businesses under one roof to offer a fully-immersive, sensory affair for all ages to enjoy.

Salem Symphony, Salem’s only professional, symphony-sized orchestra, has joined forces with the Bush Barn Art Center, the Salem Art Association, and Brooks Winery to transform the Elsinore Theatre into a sort of walk-through style concert, beginning with complimentary wine as you stroll through the art gallery in the lobby. Featuring local artists, concert-goers can imbibe of the visual delights prior to enjoying the concert.

Alexa Aimer, general manager and co-founder of the Salem Symphony, expressed her excitement for this particular event:

“The Salem Symphony has created ways to incorporate the community and local art to make this experience uniquely Salem and inclusive for all.”

Her husband and co-founder, Dallas Aimer, happens to be the music director of Salem Symphony. With their joint advocacy and passion for music, they are hard at work to raise awareness and appreciation for the local arts scene.

“Music and the arts make us who we are as a society,” he says. “Our humanity, our culture, and our perception of the world around us are influenced by the arts and by music in particular. Music is a universal language that builds bridges, not barriers.”

With such a positive presence in Salem, it’s no surprise that community leaders and local businesses have all shown great support and admiration for the newly-formed organization. Local businesses such as Solo8 Film and LeHoullier Films came on board with this project to help heighten the experience, producing a special film commemorating and complementing Mussorgsky’s two works.

For those who are unfamiliar with Russian composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, a little background information may help to whet your interest for this upcoming collaborative experience:

Pictures At An Exhibition is a 10-movement musical work which Mussorgsky was inspired to write after a visit to an art exhibition. Each of the movements embodies one of the artworks on display, which were created by none other than his friend, Russian artist Viktor Hartmann. After Hartmann’s death in 1873, Mussorgsky attended the exhibit of his friend’s art, and was compelled to compose a musical piece to honor Hartmann’s accomplishments.

In a creative nod to Mussorgsky’s original inspiration, the Salem Symphony has given concert-goers the opportunity to walk through a gallery of local artists, sipping wine and conversing at leisure, prior to entering the theatre for the grand finale of Mussorgsky’s orchestral main course.

Accompanying Pictures At An Exhibition, the Salem Symphony will also perform one of Mussorgsky’s most well-known pieces, A Night On Bald Mountain, which many may recognize from its inclusion in the 1940 film, Fantasia.

As a music lover and avid supporter of the local art scene, it’s a delight to see this kind of collaboration occurring between well-known and well-respected organizations in the community. With the ongoing success of Salem Symphony’s programs, the Aimers say that we can expect many more collaborations such as this, with wineries, breweries, restaurants, schools, children’s programs, and so on.

The Aimers wish to provide a musical event that is more than just a concert.

“[We wanted to] recreate the original experience the classical composer felt as he walked through his own local art galleries of the time,” states Dallas Aimer.

Salem is absolutely ready for this kind of progressive and all-inclusive creative experience. The idea of immersing yourself in the art for the sake of art is something we’ve been craving in our local culture. And as we grow accustomed to Salem becoming a more out-and-about city, events like the ones hosted by Salem Symphony are breaking ground for a fresh take on an old idea. We kinda like that.

This special event will be held this Saturday, February 18th, at the Elsinore Theatre in downtown Salem. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for complimentary wine tasting, courtesy of Brooks Winery, and an art showcase. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at SalemSymphony.org.