In Faculty, Faith + Works, Music
Claudine Bigelow talks at BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications March Faith and Works Lecture

Claudine Bigelow speaks at the March Faith and Works Lecture.

Professor Claudine Bigelow shared “Unlocking Creative Potential Through Collaboration.”

When musicians discuss collaboration, they often refer to performing with fellow instrumentalists. While working with other musicians is important for School of Music Professor Claudine Bigelow, she has taken her music to a new level through her interdisciplinary endeavors with different BYU departments.

In her March 1 Faith and Works lecture, Bigelow shared experiences that have influenced her life as a musician and as an artist. She explained that her opportunities illustrate how students can think about what experiences they could seek to better themselves.

“All of us are involved in disciplines across our college that require us to put ourselves on the line and to really speak from the center of ourselves,” Bigelow said. She began by sharing experiences that have changed her life.

In October of 2016, Bigelow was invited to travel to Massachusetts with students and faculty from the Department of Art. The department had teamed up with students and faculty from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to study the art of the women’s suffrage movement. During the trip, Bigelow joined with other BYU musicians to perform music from the era for the participants. She was delighted when she finished her performance and the art professors invited her to stay and engage in creating art about the experience.

Bigelow created 26 quilts to reflect on her experience studying the women’s suffrage movement. Her art was featured alongside other work inspired by the trip in an exhibit called “Bee in the Bonnet.” Participating in artistic conversations and producing physical artwork pushed Bigelow to stretch herself in new ways.

Claudine Bigelow performs with the Deseret Quartet, featuring Monte Belknap, Alex Woods and Michelle Kesler, as part of her March Faith and Works Lecture.

Claudine Bigelow performs with the Deseret Quartet, featuring Monte Belknap, Alex Woods and Michelle Ksler, as part of her March Faith and Works Lecture.

“I realized that art has deeply influenced my creative work as a musician,” Bigelow said. “From my art and design fronts, I’ve learned so much about process. Deeper discussions behind the work are extremely important to what artists do. I am seeing things with new eyes. Studying visual art has helped open my eyes to see things

more clearly in the architecture of music.”

Bigelow also discussed her association with music professors Monte Belknap, Alex Woods and Michelle Kesler in the Deseret Quartet. Working with the quartet allowed Bigelow to explore music on new complex levels and learn how to work closely and uniformly with others. Bigelow included the quartet at the end of her remarks to demonstrate the results of the collaboration.

Claudine Bigelow's quilt, white quilt with red border, suffrage themed

Claudine Bigelow’s quilt based on Susan B. Anthony

Bigelow concluded with an emphasis on the importance of including God in her artistic process. “Collaborating with Heavenly Father strengthens me as an individual. It helps me be brave beyond what I think I can do.”

Bigelow also shared the words of painter Robert Henri, “When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close a book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages.”

“I stand before you in gratitude,” Bigelow said, “for how these collaborations have made more pages possible inside me, and I can feel that there are many more to

come.”

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