The Daily Gamecock

Opus Two unites music, visual art in performance

<p>Meira Warshauer is the composer of "Carolina Gallery," a three-part musical reaction to three pieces of visual art.</p>

Meira Warshauer is the composer of "Carolina Gallery," a three-part musical reaction to three pieces of visual art.

Opus Two and Meira Warshauer are offering University of South Carolina students a night of classical music and local South Carolina art coming together for a unique experience.

The Opus Two duo, made up of William Terwilliger on violin and Andrew Cooperstock on piano, will be performing a piece called “Carolina Gallery” on March 24 at the USC School of Music Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. The compositions in “Carolina Gallery” were written by Columbia composer Meira Warshauer, inspired by the works of South Carolina artists and funded by the Office of the Provost at USC.

“We are a professional violin-piano duo who has performed on six continents over the span of almost 25 years,” said Terwilliger, who is also a professor of violin at USC. 

Terwilliger said he and Cooperstock were artistic ambassadors sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in 1993 when they played at embassies as spokesmen for American culture. They have continued performing similar tours around the world ever since and have made recordings of the works of American composers such as Copland, Schoenfield, Bernstein and Gershwin. 

Unlike the typical stories of professional musicians who were raised from birth to be experts at their instruments, Terwilliger chose to play violin in school.

“I was not a prodigy at all - I just started in 3rd grade and my school let us all choose what instrument we wanted to play,” Terwilliger said. “Much to my brothers’ horror, I chose the violin.”

Through hard work and dedication to his craft, Terwilliger got his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and has now been teaching violin at the university level for 26 years.

The music that Terwilliger and Cooperstock will be performing is a never-before-performed work from Warshauer, who has a long history as a musical composer that includes numerous awards and a doctorate from USC.

“I try to write music that connects with listeners in a deep way, and that comes from a deep place inside me,” Warshauer said. 

One of the compositions in “Carolina Gallery” is inspired by Philip Mullen’s painting “Women in the Country” that is on permanent display at the Koger Center for the Arts. 

“The painting evoked a feeling of joy, both close up and from a distance,” Warshauer said. “I found myself dancing in the lobby of the Koger Center.” 

For the musical interpretation, Warshauer said she created “a pulsing piano chordal texture overlaid by a lyrical violin melody” that ends with “a rhythmic dance” which “recreates the joyous feeling of the painting.”

Another piece is a musical response to Alex Powers’ painting “Perpetuate Slavery Or” which is in the Columbia Museum of Art. For this piece, Warshauer said she researched the Civil War period and tried to imagine how President Lincoln might have felt when facing the unraveling of the country prior to the war.  

“In the music, I used low register rumblings in the piano and high keening in the violin to evoke the ominous times and the suffering and crying out of the slaves,” Warshauer said.

The last piece in “Carolina Gallery” is inspired by Christian Thee’s “Orientation Room” at the Columbia Museum of Art that features trompe d’oeil, an art technique that makes images appear three-dimensional and realistic. Warshauer said her musical accompaniment is “playful, and hopefully surprising” and keeps with the "joyful spirit of Thee’s room" in the museum.

Artist commentary and depictions of the artworks will be incorporated into the show. The admission to the show is free and all are welcome to attend.

“I invite everyone to come for an interesting concert that features the creativity of visual artists, composers and musicians right here in Columbia!” Terwilliger said.