Lon Chaffin

Leora Zeitlin

The subtle colors, delicate brushwork and subject matter of Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “From the Faraway, Nearby” inspired Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas to write a poem that would allow him “to enter the mind of the painter.” His poem was then used by composer and NMSU Music Department Chair Lon Chaffin to compose a choral work that was premiered at the spring concert of the University Singers.

We've all seen beautiful paintings and photographs of doors; far less common is music inspired by them. NMSU tuba professor Dr. Jim Shearer asked his colleague, Lon Chaffin (Music Department Chair) to write a work inspired by doors -- and using photographs taken by Albuquerque artist Jim Gale, Chaffin incorporated the images into a multi-media composition. Shearer also commissioned Arkansas-based composer Lester Pack and NMSU alumnus Justin Raines to compose new works.