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Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

Destination Arizona: Celebrating 10 Years of the Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) takes you on a journey around the world, deep into the heart of human creativity. Rated Phoenix’s #1 attraction by TripAdvisor, MIM displays more than 7,000 musical instruments and objects from every corner of the globe and provides a one-of-a-kind experience. In just ten years, millions of guests have experienced the power of music at MIM. Join MIM in celebrating its 10th anniversary throughout 2020 with fun events, Global Masters concerts, and special exhibitions.

MIM’s five Geographic Galleries showcase music and cultures from around 200 of the world’s countries and territories. Hear, see, and feel the creative spirit of peoples and cultures from all around the world through seamless interactive technology and an astounding variety of musical instruments. In the Artist Gallery, guests can get a close-up look at instruments and memorabilia used by influential artists, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Celia Cruz, Ravi Shankar, Maroon 5, and many others.

“MIM is people, culture, music, humanity. It is the first time in a long time I have felt that there is more that connects us than divides us. Music is the voice of the soul,” said an MIM guest.

In the Experience Gallery, everyone can be a musician by playing instruments from around the world that are similar to ones on display throughout MIM. The interactive and hands-on space is fun for families and guests of all ages. Play everything from a guitar to a gong, Peruvian harp, West African djembe, Native American communal drum, and more.

MIM’s Music Theater presents more than 290 concerts each year featuring renowned and emerging artists from around the world. Enjoy concerts in the intimate, 300-seat theater, which features a variety of genres — jazz, classical, bluegrass, and singer-songwriter are just a few. Each performance is an extension of the museum’s exhibits, showcasing the instruments, the people who play them, and the musical language we share.

“It’s hard not to fall in love with every experience you can have at MIM, but taking in a live show here is a special treat. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are superb,” said a concert attendee.

Join MIM for family-friendly Signature Events throughout 2020 as well as special anniversary celebrations in March and April filled with music and dance performances, engaging demonstrations, workshops, and more. Events include Experience Ireland on March 14 and 15; five consecutive Celebration Saturdays leading up to MIM’s 10th Anniversary exploring everything from the science of sound to the tango, jazz, and more on March 21 and 28 and April 4, 11, and 18; and MIM’s 10th Anniversary Weekend on April 25 and 26.

The Global Masters Concert Series will feature performances by artists spanning many genres and at the pinnacle of their craft in 2020. Each performance brings a unique perspective to the question of why music matters, helping us understand the deep connections we all have to music. Global Masters Concert Series artists include Juan de Marcos, founder of the Buena Vista Social Club, leading the Afro-Cuban All Stars on January 14 and 15; Grammy-winning bass player Victor Wooten with Steve Bailey, Gregg Bissonette, and Daniel Levitin on January 23; legendary trumpet player Herb Alpert and Grammy-winning vocalist Lani Hall on January 24 and 25; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq on February 2; iconic Mexican American singer Lila Downs on February 27 and 28; classical tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain on March 31; and Playing for Change, a unique fusion of talents who come together to inspire the world through music on April 17 and 18.

MIM’s newest exhibition, Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa, offers a glimpse into the dramatic and lively masquerade traditions of Central Africa with an exclusive collection of more than 150 stunning and rare masks, instruments, and costumes from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Curated by Manuel Jordán, MIM’s deputy director and chief curator, and Marc Felix, MIM board of directors member and international expert on African art, Congo Masks and Music explores the connections between masks and musical instruments while reflecting the diverse settings of masquerades.

Masquerades take place for a variety of reasons—to educate, entertain, demonstrate power, and connect humans with the spirit world. Masks represent powerful supernatural beings that come to life in human, animal, or hybridized form. Through music and dance, they express different peoples’ worldviews, histories, religious beliefs, and morals. Congo Masks and Music is the first exhibition to fully contextualize masks alongside musical instruments in their authentic performance settings. Archival photography and video footage featuring masks and traditional music performed in ceremonies will allow guests to fully experience one of Africa’s richest traditions. Congo Masks and Music is on display through September 13, 2020.

Chad Wright is Director of LECET Southwest. To learn more about the Musical Instrument Museum and plan your visit, go to MIM.org.

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