Coloring in Copland

Chamber orchestra presents a newly illustrated “Appalachian Spring” 

Key of C
Costanza Knight will paint to the sounds of Copland, led by conductor Eric Scheider.
Photo by Matt Rose

The borders between art forms have always been porous demarcations of human creativity, and when Hendersonville artist Costanza Knight began contemplating a new direction for her work, music seemed to present possibilities. “I was toying with the idea of depicting Dvorak’s ‘Symphony for the New World,’” Knight explains, “when I saw that the Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra was going to be performing Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring.’ That seemed most attractive to me.”

The orchestra’s director/conductor, Eric Scheider, warmed immediately to Knight’s proposal to create paintings for the June 2nd concert. Images of the work will be projected during each of the symphony’s eight movements.


Knight’s been hard at work on the project since January, painting new pieces. Using Copland’s notations for the 1944 version of the orchestral suite, the artist begins her vision in tune with the composer’s slow opening movement — reminiscent of the silence and muted colors of winter — then on through the increasingly lively sections of the work as the seasons progress. “I’ve tried to tie them all together, however loosely, with the use of color, and in some cases the collaging of musical notations,” Knight says.

Winter into Spring

Although Copland wrote the music to accompany Martha Graham’s ballet about newlyweds in rural America (he called it simply “Ballet For Martha”), he later reworked it into a fully orchestrated version for performance on its own, borrowing the title “Appalachian Spring” from a poem by Hart Crane. It went on to become one of the most familiar and beloved works by an American composer, especially for Copland’s setting of the traditional Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts.”

The Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra will be performing the original ballet orchestration featuring strings, solo woodwinds, and piano as the centerpiece of the final concert of its inaugural season. “4SCO,” its shorthand name, is Western North Carolina’s newest orchestral ensemble, an outgrowth of the Hendersonville Community Orchestra. True to its name, the orchestra plans to present one concert in each season of the year. 

“Our mission is not only to present inspiring music in intimate settings, but also to raise funds and awareness at every 4SCO concert in support of causes and organizations in need in our community,” says Scheider.

4SCO (Eric Scheider, director and conductor, and featuring
Peter Voisin, trumpet and Pat Stone, English horn) presents Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” suite and “Quiet City,” and “Entr’acte,” by North Carolina-born composer Caroline Shaw, on Sunday, June 2, 3pm. A debut exhibit of artwork by Costanza Knight, commissioned for the concert, will be displayed during the concert. Grace Lutheran Church, 1245 6th Ave., Hendersonville. $10 admission, plus donations for the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County (, will be collected at the door. For more information, call 828-490-7119 or see Knight’s paintings will be on display at Art MoB Studios and Marketplace June 4-11 (

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