Building bridges with art

The Art Museum’s current Michelangelo Pistoletto exhibition emphasizes the Italian artist’s endeavors to create and foster art with a focus on social and political change. Inspired by that mission, new music ensemble Relache will present a program that exemplifies Pistoletto’s goals.

Cypriot-American composer Sophia Serghi and Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince hail from Mediterranean cultures that have been at odds for decades. Yet the two are frequent collaborators, working now on a piece which they hope will combine orchestras from both of their respective nations.

The Relache program will present Ince’s “Strange Stone” — inspired by a Turkish instrument called the zurna — and Serghi’s “Pleiades,” which embodies the seven mythological nymphs represented by the titular constellation.

“You will hear Byzantine sounds, Mediterranean sounds, rhythms that spring out of Asia Minor and the Greek Islands and, to a certain extent, even a little of Middle Eastern or Arabic tunings,” Serghi says of both composers’ work.

It’s girls’ night

“Pleiades” premiered by Relache in 2006 and has been performed frequently since. It was inspired, Serghi says, by her Greek heritage and desire to explore female characters from mythology. “We don’t really know a lot about these women,” she admits. “I decided to use my own imagination to portray them as personalities.”

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