Mark Rothko, whose early work is the subject of an exhibition at Smart Museum, was a major New York abstract expressionist who, like many fellow modernists, began his career dabbling with representational art. The parallels between his artistic evolution and those of some of this century’s most innovative composers are underscored in Cube’s concert, performed in conjunction with the exhibit. The program highlights chamber works by avant-gardists from the same circles as Rothko. The most intriguing example of the cross-fertilizing hubbub of 30s and 40s New York is Party Pieces, a fun-and-games, surrealism-tinged collection of musical works–by John Cage, Virgil Thomson, Lou Harrison, and Henry Cowell–in which each piece reveals the playful side of its composer’s personality. Representing the musical counterpart of abstract expressionism are Ralph Shapey’s Rhapsody for Oboe and Piano and his mentor Stefan Wolpe’s Klezmer Song for Voice, Clarinet, and Piano. The concert, which also features soprano Barbara Ann Martin and cellist Martine Benman, will be preceded by three related free events: a gallery walk at 1 PM, a lecture on the musical currents in Rothko’s New York at 1:45, and a panel discussion on “Rothko’s perspectives” at 2:45. Sunday, 4 PM, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 5550 S. Greenwood; 667-1618. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.