Ariana Kim & Steve Heitzeg: light/see + dark/hear

Fri, Jan 26–Sun, Jan 28
10:15–11:45 am & 2:15–3:45 pm
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Tickets: $40


Composer Steve Heitzeg and violinist/improviser Ariana Kim will offer a multi-movement work for solo violin and other instruments inspired by the Black Box Theater wing of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. After silently touring the adjacent visual art galleries, audience members will enter the empty gallery to gather around Kim. Listeners are invited to sit, lounge, or lie within the space, which will dim to pitch dark.

The music—exploring ideas of sound, color, sonic luminescence, time, space, and conceptual phenomena such as Night Sky Sanctuaries and False Dawns—will offer a universe of sound in which listeners can lose themselves in personal interpretations of the visual art experienced immediately preceding the performance. The disappearance of one sense will encourage a greater appreciation for the ones that remain. 

Copresented with Minneapolis Institute of Art. Commissioned by Dr. Thomas von Sternberg and Eve Parker.

The Program

I. Nott (nocturne)
II. Star Map (chaconne: follow the North Star)
III. Fireflies (jewels of the night)
IV. Waawaate (skyscape song)
V. Dark Sky Sanctuaries (dance)
VI. Light Pollution (ancient song of migrating birds)
VII. Pre-Dawn (prelude and plea)

The piece begins and ends with two 15-minute improvisations by violinist Ariana Kim.

Request for Accommodation

Additional aids and services are available upon request. If you’d like to request an accommodation or a custom tour in advance of your visit, download a Request for Accommodation Form. Learn more about Minneapolis Institute of Arts’s Accessibility and Inclusion services here.


About the Artists

Noted by The New York Times for giving “the proceedings an invaluable central thread of integrity and stylishness,” violinist Ariana Kim made her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall during her doctoral studies at Juilliard and is now a tenured professor at Cornell University. At 16, Ariana made her debut with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and at 24, was appointed acting concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans; she has since become one of the most respected artists of her generation.  

As a violinist of the Aizuri Quartet she was awarded the 2017 Osaka International Competition Grand Prize, the 2018 M-Prize, and a 2019 GRAMMY® nomination for the album Blueprinting. During her tenure, the ensemble served as a Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and presented recitals at Suntory Hall Tokyo, the University of Toronto, Duke University, and the Kennedy Center, among others. Equally devoted to contemporary and long-established literature, Ariana held a 10-year position with the New York new music ensemble Ne(x)tworks and is currently in her 17th season with The Knights; their 2016 recording …the ground beneath our feet… on which Ariana is a featured soloist alongside Guillaume Pirard in Steve Reich’s Duet, was chosen as NPR’s “Songs We Love” for the year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ariana embarked on a social justice project with composer Steve Heitzeg and actor-narrators Lou and Sarah Bellamy to create a work shedding light on police violence and community building; the project culminated in a multi-media work for solo violin, spoken word, and video footage of the protests and street art that emerged during the demonstrations of 2020.

Recently having returned from a sabbatical year in South Korea, Ariana spent seven months studying the gayageum (an ancient zither-style instrument), performing throughout the country, and presenting master classes at Seoul National University. She was appointed co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota and Paesaggi Musicali Toscani in Siena, Italy, in 2019. In the fall of 2023, Ariana will begin a Carnegie Hall residency with The Knights, embark on a recital and master class tour at Duke University, Bucknell University, and the Clark Art Institute, return to Seoul for a recital with pianist Hyo-Jung Huh, and present the world premiere of Piyawat Louilapprasert’s Violin Concerto in Bangkok, Thailand. In early 2024, she looks forward to returning to her native Twin Cities for performances with The Great Northern and serving as a host for This Is Minnesota Orchestra, the ensemble’s live PBS and MPR broadcast. Her upcoming solo album—exploring improvisation through the lens of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas alongside world folk music—is set for release in the fall of 2024.  


Emmy Award-winning composer Steve Heitzeg is known for evocative and lyrical scores, frequently including naturally-found instruments such as stones, driftwood, Joshua Tree branches, manatee and Beluga Whale bones, shells, and sea glass. Heitzeg’s body of compositions addresses human rights, peace, and environmental issues with vision and compassion, including works such as Aqua, Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Blue Liberty, Fanfare for a Weapon-Free World, Lake Stone Moon, Nobel Symphony, Wild Songs, and Wounded Fields.

Heitzeg’s music has been commissioned and performed by the Atlanta Symphony, Chanticleer, The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, Dale Warland Singers, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Orchestra, members of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, VocalEssence, and Zeitgeist, among others. Marin Alsop, Michael Butterman, Philip Brunelle, William Eddins, JoAnn Falletta, Joseph Giunta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Sarah Hicks, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Osmo Vänskä, and Dale Warland are among the conductors who have led his works.  

Heitzeg attracted attention with his score for PBS’ A Marriage: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (starring Jane Alexander) in 1991. In 2000, he received a regional Emmy for his score for the PBS documentary Death of the Dream: Farmhouses in the Heartland. In 2008, Heitzeg’s Social Movements was premiered by the James Sewell Ballet, and his string quartet Song Without Borders was premiered by the Daedalus Quartet at the United Nations.  

Recent works include his trumpet concerto American Nomad, premiered and recorded by Charles Lazarus, trumpet, and the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä conducting; Lake Stone Moon (Save the Boundary Waters) for solo violin, stones, and driftwood, premiered by Ariana Kim; earthbird, premiered by Maria Jette and The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota; Refugee (Variations on Immigration) for soprano, shruti box, and piano, premiered by Anna Christofaro and Mary Jo Gothmann; the 19-movement ecoscore Catalogue of Human Rights for solo piano, premiered by the composer; How Many Breaths? (in memory of George Floyd and Countless Others)—a multi-media piece for solo violin and spoken word, premiered by Ariana Kim, violin and Lou Bellamy and Sarah Bellamy, narrators/writers; Green Hope After Black Rain (Symphony for the Survivors of Manzanar Concentration Camp, Hiroshima and Nagasaki), inspired by Toronto-based photographer Katie McCormick’s photos of A-bombed trees, premiered by the Saint Paul Civic Symphony, Jeffrey Stirling conducting; Green Freedom, premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting; Wind of No Return, premiered at Liquid Music by Ariana Kim and ensemble; and Birdsongs and Bells, premiered by carillonneur Chad Winterfeldt.