Classical Pianist Brian Ganz and Actor Michael Tolaydo Performing at St. Mary’s College on September, 24, 2019

September 16, 2019

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Musician in Residence Brian Ganz will be joined by former Director of the college Theater Program, Michael Tolaydo, for a dramatic presentation merging music, theater, art and poetry. Ganz and Tolaydo will present “Whistler’s Lecture: James Whistler, Claude Debussy and the Lecture That Changed Art.” The performance will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at 8pm in the Auerbach Auditorium at St. Mary’s Hall. This will be a ticketed event. St. Mary’s College of Maryland students will be admitted free of charge; seniors, college faculty and staff, as well as St. Mary’s Arts Alliance members, will be charged a $10 admission fee; general admission will be $15. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit

“The point of departure for our program is James Whistler’s magnificent 10 O’Clock Lecture, a beautiful piece of writing and a lucid exposition of many of Whistler’s ideas about art,” said pianist Ganz. “The presentation will include an edited delivery of Whistler’s lecture along with imaginary dialogue with a musician from our time. Michael will play the part of Whistler and I’ll play the musician. The lecture and dialogue will be illustrated with performances and discussion of several works of Claude Debussy and other composers, along with readings of a few poems by the Symbolist poets, who influenced both artist and composer.”

Ganz was invited to create this presentation for the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with an exhibit of Whistler watercolors. “I immediately thought of Michael, and was delighted when he was available and interested. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at acting, and to do that alongside a former colleague at SMCM is a joy. The writing was an added challenge… and pleasure. I fell in love with Whistler’s lecture, and it provided all the inspiration we needed.” The Freer Gallery performance will take place on September 28th. For more information about that performance, visit

“Whistler and Debussy were friends, and Debussy was captivated by Whistler’s lecture,” Ganz continued. “We associate the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ with Whistler, and credit him with a fresh vision of artistic beauty. And we also say that Debussy taught us to hear harmony in a new way, thus ushering in a 20th century of extraordinary creative vitality in music. This presentation explores common ground in their artistic world views.”

Photo Credit: Jay Mallin