‘Cosmic Harmonies’ combines Southern history, music and remembrance

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — An event that combined music and art finally came to fruition inside TROY’s International Arts Center (IAC).

Friday afternoon, the IAC held its “Cosmic Harmonies” event. The performance was the result of a collaboration among the IAC, the Long School of Music, local artist Fred “Nall” Hollis and late composer Robert W. Smith.

“We hosted the premiere of ‘Cosmic Harmonies,’ which is a piece composed by the late Robert W. Smith and it is composed for Dr. Jillian Camwell on oboe and Dr. Hui-Ting Yang on the piano,” said IAC Director and Curator Carrie Jaxon. “The selected pieces that were played were chosen based on music that was inspired by artwork created by Nall Hollis.”

Earlier this year Jaxon, Camwell, and Smith walked through Nall’s gallery inside the IAC. There, they chose three different pieces that would lay the foundation for Smith’s compositions.

According to Camwell’s website, much of Cosmic Harmonies was inspired by Hollis’ paintings that “challenge the traditional image of the “Southern Belle” by depicting an African-American woman in full splendor.”

“Alternative Southern Belle” by Fred “Nall” Hollis

“He [Smith] composed about two years ago,” Camwell explained. “It was premiered last year by an oboist in Illinois. Today was the first time that it was performed with oboe and piano.”

“Cosmic Harmonies” was originally set to debut in October but was delayed due to Smith’s unexpected death. His widow, Susan Smith, stood in his place during Friday’s performance.