On Saturday, April 13, the Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA) hosted Musicircus Florida. Inspired by John Cage, Stephen Montague, Visiting Professor of Composition in the College of Music, invited nearly 100 performers to turn the museum into an immersive 1960s “Happening.” Musicians, dancers, actors, artists, poets, chess players and a scientist performing simultaneously throughout the museum spaces in an extraordinary, multidimensional collision of sights and sounds. Each performer’s contribution for the 2:02:07 hours was dictated by the ultimate random timing charts (derived from the decay of isotope Caesium 137). The event kicked off a week long program celebrating the centennial of Merce Cunningham’s birth and was a collaboration between MoFA, the College of Music, the School of Dance, and the Department of Art.
Over three-hundred visitors wandered through the museum, encountering sights such as the twenty-two-member FSU Flute Choir, a violinist and aviolist in dinosaur costumes, a band playing Smashing Pumpkins on repeat, an installation inviting participants to join the performance by playing video games, and School of Dance students and faculty rolling dice to determine their next move. Musicircus was cleverly woven through the art works of all of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students graduating from the Department of Art this semester: MFA – Christina Anduiza, Kiley Brandt, Christopher Christian, Rosanna Davis, Kelly Lorraine Hendrickson, Colleen Itani, Celeste Ivory, Amanda Kleinhans, Lindsey Medina, Jessica Smoleroff, and Kassandra Spence; BFA – Sophia Baldwin, Charlie Barger, Marie Dull, Emily Fischer, Kiara Gilbert, Dillon Gleason, Kasey Grace, Bobby Riley, Devin Wades, Madelene Wishart, and Reona Woods.
Montague, who was a frequent collaborator of both Cage and Cunningham, said that the two would have been thrilled by the event on Saturday. “Musicircus came to life in sometimes subtle, then almost brutal ways, but was continually thrilling for the full two hours, two minutes and seven seconds. The audience was clearly enthralled, riveted, and smiling from ear to ear,” the composer remarked.