John Neagle, Tired of Play (Detail), 1840. Oil on canvas mounted on panel, 25 1/4 x 31 in. Museum purchase, acquired from Maxim Karolik. 1957-690.52.

Music from the Green is live on Spotify, Shelburne Museum’s highlights from the Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green series.


Created by Ray Vega, musician and host of Vermont Public Radio’s Friday Night Jazz, for Part Two: Pattern of our online exhibition, Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale.


Created by Helen Lyons, host of Vermont Public Radio Classical, for Part Three: Whimsy of our online exhibition, Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale.

Created by Matt LaRocca, Chair of Creative Projects and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for Part One: Color of our online exhibition, Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale.

Below, Matt elaborates on his song selections, and their relationship to the “Color” theme:

Michael Torke – Bright Blue Music: Michael Torke is a modern composer who has a type of synesthesia called chomesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon in which specific colors are experienced when hearing sound. For Torke, the key of the piece, D major, has been the color of blue for him since he was five years old.

Jennifer Higdon – Pale Yellow: “Can music reflect colors and can colors be reflected in music? I have always been fascinated with the connection between painting and music.  In my composing, I often picture colors as if I were spreading them on a canvas, except I do so with melodies, harmonies, and through the instruments themselves.”

Ola Gjeilo – Northern Lights: Music inspired by the brilliant colors and “terrible, powerful beauty” of the northern lights shining above the attic in Oslo where he was composing. 

Caroline Shaw – Valencia: “There is something exquisite about the construction of an ordinary orange. Hundreds of brilliantly colored, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. It is a thing of nature so simple, yet so complex and extraordinary.”

Eric Whitacre – Lux Aurumque: One of the modern master choral composers, Lux Aurumque translates as “Light and Gold.” Whitacre’s harmonies and melodies are ripe with color and beauty. 

Svante Henryson – Black Run: An excerpt from Svant’s “Colors in D” suite for solo cello. The suite is inspired by different colors, and the songs included are Black Run, Green, and Blue Chaconne. 

Olivier Messiaen – Quartet For the End of Time, mvmt 8: French composer Olivier Messiaen was a synesthetic like Michael Torke. Messian himself gave vivid descriptions of the colors he saw when composing and hearing his own music, such as “chords of blue and mauve, gold and green, red-violet and blue-orange all dominated by steel-grey.” About this final movement, he wrote “In my coloured dreams I hear and see ordered melodies and chords, familiar hues and forms; then, following this transitory stage I pass into the unreal and submit ecstatically to a vortex, a dizzying interpenetration of superhuman sounds and colours. These fiery swords, these rivers of blue-orange lava, these sudden stars: Behold the cluster, behold the rainbows!”