Mimi Stillman, acclaimed flutist, founder and Artistic Director of Philadelphia's Dolce Suono Ensemble, and a University of Pennsylvania alumna (Masters in History, 2003; ABD for Ph.D., 2006), has embarked on an ambitious musical adventure. Stillman's project entitled "Syrinx Journey" honors composer Claude Debussy's 150th birthday. Since August 22, 2012, Stillman has performed Debussy's "Syrinx for Solo Flute" every day in various locations around the world. She recently inquired about including the Penn Museum as part of this incredible homage—and was invited to bring her flute and her hauntingly beautiful two-and-a-half-minute "Syrinx" to the galleries on Monday, August 5—just weeks before her year-long project concludes.
Mimi and her mother, Dr. Ronni Gordon (prominent foreign language textbook author and Chairman, Board of Directors of Dolce Suono Ensemble), is the cameraperson for the project. The Gordon-Stillmans, no strangers to the Penn Museum, became Museum members in 1999, after moving from Boston to Philadelphia so that Mimi could attend the Curtis Institute of Music. When asked why she wanted Penn Museum to be one of the destinations for her project, Mimi said, "Besides being fascinated by the magnificent collection that the museum has about so many civilizations and cultures, I thought it would be a very inspiring setting in which to perform. There is the natural connection with the Greek galleries because Debussy wrote the piece for a play that was about the myth of Pan and Syrinx."
As an historian, Stillman has a deep appreciation for the liaison between her music and the story behind it. "I think that the flute, being perhaps one of the most ancient instruments, will be especially haunting and evocative in a variety of the museum's galleries."
Check out Mimi's performance in the Museum's Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery. To journey with Mimi Stillman, visit www.mimistillman.org or www.youtube.com/SyrinxJourney.