Kudos to Dr. Bradley Strauchen-Scherer, Associate Curator of Musical Instruments, for a fascinating tour of the musical instrument galleries at the Metropolitan Museum, which are still under construction (due to open Spring of 2018). Cali students witnessed in the real time the wholesale reworking of this world-class collection, both in terms of its new physical layout but more importantly, the reasons for these changes. Instead of a division between “West” and “the rest,” the new exhibition will feature one hall devoted to “Music through Time” and another featuring “Music through Place.” This means that some of the Met’s most famous examples – like the 1560 “Kurtz” Amati violin and the Ming Dynasty pipa (with its spectacular ivory ornamentation) – will be side by side in the exhibit. Students also examined up-close the 1840 Érard piano, which is one of the first instruments to be placed in its new position.
After the instrument tour, we fanned out into the museum to explore the other examples of music-making in the collection.
During our decompression session near the Temple of Dendur, there was general consensus that the museum is an awe-inspiring lesson in the human experience. We can’t wait to go back!