What color would you make a major chord if you were to hang it on a gallery wall? How would you transpose an artist’s sketch onto a music staff? These questions aren’t silly riddles meant to puzzle and perplex. Instead, these are possibilities the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra and visual artist Billy Simms aimed to explore during a collaborative performance at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts on Feb. 1. In celebration of the opening of its Shifty exhibition, which featured “large-scale abstract and narrative artworks” that played with perception through “shifting spaces, absurd moments, and woven walls,” the Fitton Center brought together visual and musical arts to stage a live printmaking presentation set to a special orchestral composition. Following the gallery opening, guests enjoyed a concert by the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra that began with a 22-minute piece called “With Eyes That Hear and Ears That See.” Composed by the orchestra’s music director emeritus and composer-in-residence, Paul John Stanbery , and inspired by the artwork in the show, the music accompanied the creation of a brand-new print by Simms, who completed his work on stage while the orchestra played. “I have never done anything quite like this, so it is really exciting,” said Simms, who resides in Hamilton, Ohio, in an pre-performance interview. “I know there have been times where things like this have been done, where people create works on stage along with some sort of stage performance, but I’ve never heard of one like what we’re doing, where the music was composed in response to the artwork, and then I am in turn responding to the music.” For Stanbery, the composition process required that he reflect on the visual artworks in the show through notes, rhythms, and musical motifs. While structuring his piece and determining instrumentation and themes, Stanbery aimed to convey his impressions as a viewer of the pieces in the Shifty exhibition. “As I was looking at these works of art, I began to make a list of words that popped into my mind,” Stanbery said. “As a result, when I would start to write the music, I would simply look at those words and try to emulate that emotion, whatever the emotion might be—it could be anger, it could be chaos, it could be love. Each of the artworks had its own particular list of words, and that became the impetus for the music that I wrote for each one.