On Saturday, the Longy School of Music in Cambridge is hosting an event that’s part of the New Gallery Concert Series. It’s an immersive artistic experience, melding music and visual art, and touching on the themes of adoption and adaptation. Sarah Bob, the director of the New Gallery Concert Series, will be playing piano in “Adopt and Adapt.” She spoke with GBH All Things Considered host Arun Rath. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: We’ve heard about various sorts of immersive experiences lately. There have been several here in Boston. Tell us about what this exhibit is going to be like.

Sarah Bob: So the New Gallery Concert Series is a combination of new music and new visual art. I just do want to stress that we don't believe, necessarily, that the music needs the art or the art needs the music. This is just a way to shine light on different aspects of the experience and of the art in itself.

This all came to be — and I'd like to share this with you, because it relates to the actual physical experience that people will be having on Saturday — this all came about as I went to visit a friend’s studio for the first time, Sharon Berke. She's a visual artist, and she was showing me her work. ... As she spoke about her art, she used words like “connection” and “disconnection” and “fragmentation” and “identity.” And she sort of stopped in her tracks and turned around and looked at me and said, “You know, it's funny. I use the same words to describe my art as I do to describe my own adoption.”

That really struck me. It got me to thinking how conscious are we of our own identity, and what we know and what we don't know?

So I reached out to a couple of friends who are professional musicians. I said, "I'm just curious. Have you ever created music tapping into your adoption experience?" And both of them said, "I'm sure it's part of what I do, but no, I've never consciously done that."

And that was really the seed that planted this whole idea. I got the nerve to ask all three of them — Sharon Berke, Jonathan Bailey Holland and Maria Finkelmeier — if they would be willing to tap into this part of their identities. And they decided, yeah, they're going to tackle this really vulnerable experience.

We're trying to mirror this kind of exploration physically. The event will start in the New Gallery Concert Series. We commissioned Jonathan Bailey Holland to write a string quartet, and that will start. Then the audience will choose where to go next. One room will be the next step of Jonathan's string quartet, where it's recording. He really focuses on what does it mean to adopt? It usually means to take on something new. And adapting to that, what does that mean in terms of our memory and our own personal history? Then walking further, when you get into the lobby, on the balcony will be a vibraphone with two players. But also the piece is specific in that you really have to respond to the room to decide what the tempo will be, how the resonance will best work. I can only imagine it's going to be glorious in this resonant space.

Rath: One thing I know from having heard some of your playing — hearing a rhythmic piece like that — is it’s safe to say that you're someone who likes getting the percussive nature out of the piano, right?

Bob: Yes. The piano is a percussion instrument. I do really enjoy the energy and the drive behind the rhythmic integrity and the percussive nature of the piano.

Rath: You mentioned that these things are all going on simultaneously. So do people just move through this at their own pace, however they want?

Bob: Yes, that's right. That's part of the mirroring of the theme, where there's a big unknown. You don't know what you're going to get, you don't know which way you're going to turn. But ultimately, you are taking the agency. You are making those decisions, taking the agency as to which way you are going to land.

So what happens to bring us all together is the final piece on the program, which is not simultaneous. It’s another New Gallery Concert Series commission for Maria Finkelmeier. She wrote “the Me you See,” and it is very much based on her adoption experience and the imagined mother or child, and the real mother and child. What's going to happen is all the performers and the audience will be alerted to when our time is done, when we have people — including some Longy students, including my own children — who will have wind chimes and go through the space, and we will be corralled back into Pickman Hall.

And this is a first that I am beyond excited about, where Maria wrote a piece for all of us to perform. I mean, everyone you have just seen and heard will now be coming together to play together, including our visual artist, Sharon Berke, who will be doing live art while we're playing. Maria has also created another video to project. I mean, it's going to be a really multisensory, impactful moment. The audience will be able to move around still, even back in the space, but there will be a sense of coming home.

I think it's going to feel good. This is our first event in person since before the pandemic. Our last one was in November 2019. So there's a lot to be said for acknowledging the space around us, the space between us, and going our separate ways, but coming back together as well.

Rath: Hearing you talk about that, it's impossible not to think of the pandemic. The best kind of art experiences are where we are actually in a special place, and it’s ephemeral. It's only there for that moment with the rest of the audience and those artists. The immersive thing you're talking about is kind of like at the far end of that, and that's also the far end of what our awful pandemic experience has been.

Bob: There’s a lot to unpack. The thing about this event and all of our events is that we want to connect with each other. A lot of people think of new music and they think avant garde, which yes, there's plenty of that for sure. But we're really trying to make these events, all of them, about being around a language of today, knowing that each and every one of us is a part of that, that there is no hierarchy in that. We want to create a safe space for people not only to listen and to question, but to continue dialogue. Our events, we see what's going on around us, and we want to touch on these things and we want to talk about these things. Things that we can, through music and art, really express ourselves in a way that goes obviously beyond words, but that then can create dialogue between us. Between the participants and between the audience, and then, most importantly, within our whole community.