JP’s Finkelmeier Leading Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Summer Workshops

Jamaica Plain’s Maria Finkelmeier is an internationally-recognized percussion performer and educator who will share her artistic vision and spirit with Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum visitors this summer. In a series of public workshops, Finkelmeier will respond to the theme of “Sound Studio” through engaging programing in the Museum’s Bertucci Education Studio.

Maria Finkelmeier playing marimba.

Finkelmeier has been selected as the Museum’s next Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series guest artist. Through the Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series, the Gardner supports artists in the Boston area by providing artists with opportunities to develop artistic experiences and engaging workshops for Museum visitors. The Series allows artists to consider their work within the rich cultural context of the Gardner Museum and the unique legacy of the Museum’s founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner, through a structured three-month collaboration period of thought, exploration, creation, and workshop implementation. The Gardner will host four artists for three months each throughout the year as part of this series. The artists design and implement curriculum for Saturday Open Studios and lead hands-on events in the Studio. Finkelmeier will collaborate with the Museum from June to August.

“I look forward to exploring the galleries and discovering new inspirations at the Isabella Stewart Gardner through this residency,” says Finkelmeier. “One of the most exciting aspect of this opportunity is the incubation phase. After weekly visits to the museum in June, I will use the month of July to design and try out the workshops I’ll create. I hope attendees will learn more about the process of creating percussive music, while inspired to listen to their surroundings in new ways.”

As founder and director of Kadence Arts in the Boston area, Finkelmeier enjoys curating performances and projects that engage local communities in music making. She earned high praise last summer for organizing 92 musicians at the Arnold Arboretum to perform John Luther Adams’s percussion work, “Inuksuit.” She has performed internationally and brought her music to people in Scandinavia, Australia, Mexico, Russia, China, and throughout Europe and the U.S.

A versatile musician, Finkelmeier plays marimba, drums, and other rhythm instruments. Before coming to Boston, she spent three years in Northern Sweden at the Piteå Institution for Music and Media as an artist in residence. She is co-founder of the artist collective, Masary Studios. Responsible for turning Fenway Park’s Green Monster into an instrument and projection canvas for Illuminus at HubWeek in 2015, Masary Studios combines music performance with triggered animation. In 2017, Masary Studios was commissioned to create a new work for the historic Cyclorama at the Boston Center or the Arts, in which Maria composed 60 minutes of new music for eight percussionists and four vocalists. She also tours with Quartet Kalos, a Swedish-American band (clarinet, cello, voice, percussion) focused on arranging folk music and commissioning new work.

Her organization, Kadence Arts, is devoted to incubating artistic projects, curating performances, and engaging local communities through music making. The organization co-founded the Beat Bus with The Record Co, launched the “Times Two” concert series in partnership with Robert Honstein, and initiated Make Music Boston, a participatory summer solstice celebration. In Boston, she also accompanies adaptive dance classes at the Boston Ballet and hopes to open her own arts studio, Kadence Arts Space.

“I’m honored to be part of the Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series,” says Finkelmeier. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a pillar of culture here in Boston, and as a locally based artist, the opportunity to embrace and rethink an historically significant location is thrilling. I look forward to learning more about the museum, about Mrs. Gardner herself, and about the thirst for artistic interaction in our community!”