Nov. 2, 2015 --
In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Phillips Music series and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, The Phillips Collection, a museum of modern art in Washington, D.C., will host ensembles from “The President’s Own” for a special concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 8 in the Music Room. The concert is free but sold out. While commemorating its 75th season, Phillips Music especially wanted to also pay special tribute to musicians in the U.S. military for their role in keeping Phillips Music continually running during World War II.
The concert will focus around Olivier Messiaen’s deeply profound and emotional Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time), performed by violinist and concertmaster Staff Sgt. Karen Johnson, co-principal clarinet Staff Sgt. Patrick Morgan, cellist Staff Sgt. Charlaine Prescott, and pianist Staff Sgt. Christopher Schmitt. Messiaen composed the entire piece while a prisoner of war during World War II and performed the work for the first time for his fellow prisoners and prison guards in the Gorlitz concentration camp in Stalag 8-A with three fellow inmates on Jan. 15, 1941, the same year the Phillips Music series began. The eight movement quartet was inspired by several verses in the tenth chapter from the Book of Revelation in the Bible and, as Messiaen himself said, the work will “draw the listener into a sense of the eternity of space and time.”
“The Quartet pour la fin du Temps has always seemed to me both a musical outcry and prayer of the oppressed and those seeking hope,” Johnson said. “And hope was something very much needed during the time of its composition.”
The Phillips Collection opened to the public in 1921 in Washington’s vibrant Dupont Circle neighborhood. The museum combines works of modern art with paintings by Mark Rothko, Vincent van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among many others, all located in the distinctive home of the museum’s founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. The venue is Metro accessible via the Red Line to the Dupont Circle station.