Music in a museum: the Blanton’s Bach Cantata Project

Musical figures (Greek-Attic, 420-410 BCE, att. to the Kadmos Painter) in Austin's Blanton Museum of Art (photo by Sheila Scarborough)I’m a fan of hearing music when I visit museums (gosh, I hate to credit my parents for dragging me to multiple Sound and Light Shows at historic spots around the world!) so I was thrilled when I found that one of my local Austin art museums features monthly live classical music through the Bach Cantata Project.

Blanton Museum of Art Bach Cantata Project singing the chorus in the atrium (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

It is a joint venture of the University of Texas Butler School of Music Choral Program and the The Blanton Museum of Art, held in the musuem atrium the last Tuesday of every month (during the UT academic year) and sponsored by another of my local favorites, radio station KMFA (89.5 FM) a public radio station that only plays classical music (no news, no NPR programming, just music. Aaahhh.)

The relatively new Blanton – opened in 2006 – has a mix of noteworthy print and drawing collections, Latin American art, modern/contemporary art and sculpture and a nice Baroque/Renaissance collection.

Blanton Museum of Art exterior (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Even better for visitors, it has a handy little cafe and gift shop on the premises, and as a “cultural gateway” between the city of Austin and the University, it offers public-friendly cocktail hours (the B Scene events on Fridays,) and Austin-ish things like yoga in the galleries on Third Thursdays.

The music brought me, though.  I find the Blanton atrium (where the concerts are held) to be a bit cold and harsh, but it was warmed by the presence of my Dad, who drove into Austin to run a few errands and offered to meet me at noon to hear the Cantata.

Blanton Museum of Art outdoor corridor near cafe (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I’m no expert on Bach, and the Cantata was sung in German – we were given written translations – but I was delighted to have the opportunity to spend some precious time with my father and enjoy beautiful music in a serene setting.

A Mom in front of us held a cute baby, about three months old, who stared at everything wide-eyed the way babies do at that age, and I thought about hearing music with my kids before they were old enough to be too jumpy for concerts (for awhile at least.)

Dad and I occasionally joked quietly with each other between movements about how both of us kind of fidgeted and snoozed through all of those Sound and Light Shows….and Mom would surreptitiously poke and shush at us.

It was a lovely hour.

Want to hear what I heard?

This version of the Cantata from features different performers, but here is In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97, composed by J.S. Bach during his later years in Leipzig.

Relax, close your eyes and be glad we live in a world of such beauty.

(Update on the empty box below) Well, this is one of the things that can make bleeding-edge tech frustrating. used to provide streaming online music that included downloadable and one-click playable little boxes that you could embed in blog posts and other places online, so people could listen to a specific song. When Google bought, they just shut the service down without a replacement option. Hence, my sad, now-empty box. I still love Bach, though.)

In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97 …

About The Author


  1. Bali Villas Reply
    • Sheila Reply