Schoenberg, Munch & Expressionism

Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 2 PM
Part of the series Sight & Sound

at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
in NYC

  • Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts
  • On-screen artworks discussed alongside musical excerpts, then a full performance and audience Q&A
  • Schoenberg’s Erwartung (“Expectation”) and the artwork of Munch & Schoenberg
  • With Kirsten Chambers, soprano

More About the Program

The Music: Schoenberg’s Erwartung (“Expectation”)
“Written in 1909 (the same year he ‘emancipated dissonance’), this work is a masterpiece of early atonal writing in reaction to the Romantic period.” –Drew Youmans, violin

The Artwork: Works by Munch & Schoenberg
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, on view at The Met Breuer Nov 15, 2017–Feb 4, 2018

At the climax of Schoenberg’s compact operatic monodrama, a woman screams upon finding the dead body of her lover. The close connections between Schoenberg’s score and Munch’s symbolism extend beyond the composer’s expressionist music. The composer was also a painter, heavily influenced by Munch.


Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein discusses the parallels between Schoenberg’s Erwartung (“Expectation”) and the artwork of Munch & Schoenberg, with on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now.
1 hr

20 min

Full performance
Arnold Schoenberg Erwartung (“Expectation”)
Sung in German with English supertitles
Kirsten Chambers, soprano
30 min

Audience Q&A
10 min

All timings are approximate.


LEON BOTSTEIN, conductor
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both a conductor and educator to his role as music director of The Orchestra Now. He has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992, artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and president of Bard College since 1975.
>Full Bio

the title role of Salome in her Metropolitan Opera debut and with Opera Hong Kong; Maria in Strauss’ Friedenstag with the American Symphony Orchestra in her Carnegie Hall debut; Angel in Angels in America with New York City Opera
>Full Bio

Sample the Music

Schoenberg Erwartung (“Expectation”)

Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944). The Scream (detail), 1895. Lithograph, 14 1/16 x 9 5/16 in. (35.7 x 23.6 cm) Sheet: 20 1/4 x 15 5/8 in. (51.4 x 39.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.1203.1)


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