ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — On a recent afternoon, between the bare white walls of an arts center, eight musicians were seated on folding chairs in a semicircle to conduct a musical séance. A violinist stood, walked to a hat on the floor, and took out a folded piece of paper to read the name written on it: “Amy Winehouse.”
She returned to her seat and the musicians all sat in silence for a moment, heads bent. An electric guitarist began to strike the strings of his instrument, slowly, methodically. A percussionist started to hum. Then a saxophonist howled a long, sharp single note with a kind of wild urgency. The other musicians, now all in a kind of musical trance, joined in, creating a crescendo of jumbled, inchoate sounds.
This is a rehearsal for one of 38 musical pieces that this ensemble will perform for four hours a day, four days a week, until March 3 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, which is being given over to the American composer and conductor Ari Benjamin Meyers in what he described as “a friendly takeover,” as part of a project called “Kunsthalle for Music.”
The walls of the museum have been stripped of art, and the only visual part of the exhibition is the musical instruments — a piano here, a drum set there.