Shostakovich, Michelangelo & The Artistic Conscience

Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 2 PM
Part of the series Sight & Sound

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

Watch the concert any time on Facebook Live.

  • Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts
  • On-screen artworks discussed alongside musical excerpts, a full performance, and audience Q&A
  • Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo and the artwork of Michelangelo
  • With Tyler Duncan, baritone


The Music: Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo
“This suite weaves a cold and desolate story, detail by detail, like a slow-burning picture.” –Andrew Borkowski, cello

The Artwork: Works by Michelangelo Buonarroti
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue Nov 13, 2017–Feb 12, 2018

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s birth, Shostakovich set eleven poems by the Renaissance master to music. This symphonic song cycle illuminates the timeless struggle of artists across the ages—from Michelangelo to Beethoven and Shostakovich himself—in their quest to remain free.


Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein discusses the parallels between Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo and the artwork of Michelangelo Buonarroti, with on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now.
55 min

20 min

Full performance
Dmitri Shostakovich Suite on Verses of Michelangelo
Sung in Russian with English supertitles
Tyler Duncan, baritone
44 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

TYLER DUNCAN, baritone
Friendly in Flora at the American Spoleto Festival; Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Pacific Opera Victoria; Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Princeton Festival; roles in Lully’s Armide with Houston’s Mercury Baroque; Yamadori in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Fiorello in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera
>Full Bio

Artists subject to change.

Sample the Music & the Exhibit

Shostakovich Suite on Verses of Michelangelo

Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer

Michelangelo Buonarroti, (Italian, 1475–1564). A Bacchanal of Children (detail), 1530–1533. Red Chalk, sheet: 10 13/16 x 15 1/4 in. (27.4 x 38.8 cm). Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017,


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