Blossoming of the World

Why do people become artists? What is the connection between art and religion? How did the three B’s of music (Beethoven, the Beatles and the Beach Boys) influence what we listen to today?

The Michener Art Museum’s chief curator, Brian H. Peterson, and composer Michael Rose will discuss this and much more July 13 at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.

Peterson and Rose have been talking for more than thirty years, beginning as friends while studying music at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, as accomplished professionals in their respective fields, they’ve traded notes and bumped heads by phone, in emails, over lunch, throwing Frisbees, and even between blackjack hands in Atlantic City.

To celebrate the July release of Peterson’s book The Blossoming of the World: Essays and Images (Tell Me Press LLC, New Haven, Connecticut), Peterson and Rose will riff off each other’s thoughts, using the book as the starting point. Topics covered may range from such profound subjects as the joys and terrors of existence as we know it to the Phillies’ pitching staff.

Rose is Associate Professor of Composition at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. His music has been performed at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress and the International Spoleto Festival, and includes such diverse works as The Pedagogy of Grief (Viola Sonata No. 3) and Arguing with God: Concerto for Klezmer and Chamber Orchestra.

Peterson, the Michener’s Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator, has been a curator, critic, artist and educator in the Philadelphia area since the early 1980s. He has organized numerous historic and contemporary exhibitions at the Michener, and was the editor and principal author of monographs on painters William L. Lathrop, Robert Spencer and Charles Rosen, as well as the major 2002 publication Pennsylvania Impressionism, all co-published by the Michener and the University of Pennsylvania Press.  His critically acclaimed memoir The Smile at the Heart of Things (co-published by the Michener and Tell Me Press) was featured in USA Today and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In The Blossoming of the World, Peterson picks up both pen and camera and journeys to the deep end of life. Along the way he confronts some painful contradictions—beauty and violence, love and grief—and reflects on illness, family, death, dreams, epiphanies and the birth of self-awareness.

More storyteller than philosopher, Peterson struggles to reconcile his Christian faith with his love of science, creativity and spirituality in all its manifestations. Through word and image he quietly looks for—and finds—the common ground that unites thinking and compassionate people of all shapes and sizes.

Join Rose and Peterson for a thought-provoking conversation about art and life, and feel free to join the conversation yourself!

The Blossoming of the World: A Conversation about Life, Art and Whatever Else Comes Up will be held at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion, Wednesday, July 13, 6 to 8 pm. Free with museum admission. Advance registration recommended:, 215-340-9800

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