Bringing “Pictures at an Exhibition” to life on stage and screen

Catching his breath between rehearsals at Santa Barbara’s historic Granada Theater this past September, maestro Carl St.Clair was elated at the artistry of the student musicians of the USC Thornton Symphony. “As I look at this symphony orchestra that’s playing this concert this evening,” he said, “you can feel it, already, that the future of music is in great hands.”

St.Clair, the artistic leader of the USC Thornton Orchestras program and music director of the Pacific Symphony, was in Santa Barbara to lead the ensemble in a cutting-edge multimedia presentation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition suite, featuring animated video projections created by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger, along with 11 of their animation students and graduates.

The extraordinary event, which blurred the boundaries between music, animation, and film, was made possible by a new video technology called Muséik, developed by Ion Concert Media. Scott Winters, the company’s CEO and software developer, joined the ensemble to “play” the animated visuals from within the orchestra using an iPad interface.

In this video, you’ll hear from the artistic innovators who brought this extraordinary event to life on the stage of the Granada Theatre.


On Friday, January 29th at 7:30PM, maestro Carl St.Clair will lead the USC Thornton Symphony in Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 9 at USC’s Bovard Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public and seating is first-come, first-served.