By: Marc Apter

St. Mary’s City-( September 15) 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 8 pm 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 an 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 the 20th century of extraordinary creative vitality in music. This presentation explores common ground in their artistic world views.” 

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...