Jazz and art coming up Trumps

Sarah McDougall and artist Ewan McDougall in front of his artwork, The Way to Paradise, the inspiration for a jazz composition about to be toured in New Zealand. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Sarah McDougall and artist Ewan McDougall in front of his artwork, The Way to Paradise, the inspiration for a jazz composition about to be toured in New Zealand. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
An international collaboration melding art and music is soon to be unleashed in Dunedin.

A social media relationship between Dunedin expressionist painter Ewan McDougall and United States jazz musician Harold Anderson has resulted in one of McDougall's works being set to music.

And the idea began, bizarrely, with a discussion about US President Donald Trump.

McDougall said he began talking to Anderson, a former University of Otago Mozart Fellow and ethno-musicologist, on Facebook.

''He is an enemy of Donald Trump's, and so am I, so we were having this fine old slagging match of Donald Trump and enjoying it immensely.''

Anderson discovered McDougall was a painter, and liked his painting The Way to Paradise, which was a Wallace Art Award finalist.

Apart from the social media connection, McDougall said he did not know Anderson ''from a bar of soap''.

He then discovered he was Mozart Fellow in 1999.

''We got to talking, and Harold said that he'd really love to do a score based on the painting.''

McDougall said the horizontal bands in the painting resembled a music score to Anderson.

The musician asked about the meaning of aspects of the painting, and together the two ''built up a picture''.

''Then he composed this wonderful jazz contemporary score.''

While he lived in the United States, Anderson had New Zealand citizenship, and was keen to return to the country.

He had ''so many old top shelf jazz musician friends'' who were happy to join in, including Sydney-based Mike Nock.

McDougall's wife Sarah said other music identities had got involved, and members of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Chamber Orchestra had signed up to play the score.

It would be played at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on October 10, before heading to Wellington and Auckland.

Anderson and Nock would play in each concert, while other musicians would change as the event moved north.

The painting would be displayed as the score was played.

McDougall said he was ''blown away'' by the idea of his art work being turned into music.

''I think it's unique, I think it's wonderful, and I'm very, very happy about it.''

The Dunedin City Council had provided a $3000 grant to help pay for the events, and the couple was trying to raise more money.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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