5 things to do this weekend, including a 'Rent' production and a music showcase at the MFA

I was a very distracted high school student and found it hard to focus on lessons about physics and math. I was also, admittedly, chronically absent. But never for English. I loved everything about poetry: the rhythm, the fluidity, the imagery. If you can relate, head to the Old South Meeting House this weekend to pay tribute to one of the mothers of American poetry, Phillis Wheatley. The work of another trailblazing woman, composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, will be celebrated this weekend the New England Conservatory. Beyond that, there’s a lot to do, including a Ukrainian art demonstration and an international music showcase at the MFA.

Phillis Wheatley Peters Celebration

Thursday, April 7

While enslaved, Phillis Wheatley Peters became one of the most well-known poets of the 19th century. Wheatley Peters is said to have written some 145 poems, and although many of them have been lost, she remains an important figure in the American literary canon. This week, poet Charles Coe will lead an evening of poetry, film and discussion to reflect on Wheatley Peters’ poetic contributions at the Old South Meeting House. There will be a screening of the film series “Imagining the Age of Phillis” and poem readings.

Berklee's Boston Conservatory presents 'Rent'

Thursday, April 7-Sunday, April 10

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee will perform “Rent” this weekend to commemorate the iconic play’s 25th anniversary. The rock musical was written by Jonathan Larson, who has recently had a resurgence in popular culture thanks to the Oscar-nominated film adaptation of “tick, tick…BOOM!,” an autobiographical musical about his early days as a playwright. “Rent” follows a community of New York creatives as they try to make a name for themselves during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Boston Conservatory’s rendition of the show is music directed by David Pepin and directed and choreographed by Rickey Tripp.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Portrait Concert

Friday, April 8

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in composition. She’s a trailblazing artist and this week, you can hear her work in person in the Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory. The concert is a collaboration between the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an orchestra dedicated to performing and recording music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and the New England Conservatory. It will usher in the start of BMOP’s 2022-23 Quarter-Century Celebration season.

Art in Tune at the MFA

Friday, April 8

On Friday, a unique event returns to the Museum of Fine Arts. Renowned musicians from all over the world have chosen artworks that resonate with their craft, and will be performing in eight different locations of the museum. You can listen to West African bala in the Art of Africa Gallery, Sioux and Seneca flutes in the Upper Rotunda and Chinese erhu in the Chinese Song Dynasty Gallery. Even more, the museum will be offering reduced admission for this event.

Musicians play at the Museum of Fine Arts. (Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Musicians play at the Museum of Fine Arts. (Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Ukrainian-style art demo at the ICA

Sunday, April 10

To wind down the weekend, you can learn the craft of Pysanky, a Ukrainian egg decorating technique, at the ICA. Boston-based artist Gretjen Helene will lead the demo. She was taught the art form by her mother and continues to practice the tradition. It’s an old art form that uses wax and dye to create beautiful designs, a feat of symmetry and precision. The event is free and open to the public. Afterward, check out the third floor to view portraits taken by the Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov.

Lauren Williams Arts Editor
Lauren Williams is an editor at WBUR.



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