Music in the American Wild is a new music celebration of the 2016 U.S. National Park Service centennial. This summer seven performers, all alumni of Eastman School of Music, are premiering eleven new classical works honoring the national parks in the natural theaters that inspired them.
Music in the American Wild has been nearly two years in the making, and we have successfully funded our commissioned pieces, our first tour, and our forthcoming studio recording this fall. With your help to support our Washington tour and media production, we can fulfill the project we initially only dreamed about, performing new music from sea to shining sea throughout our amazing national parks. And we can share it with you!
Each of our new pieces celebrates this centennial in a different way and gives the listener a new experience of interacting with the national parks. Our composers, all affiliated with Eastman as alumni or faculty, took inspiration from all facets of the national parks, from specific locations to philosophical ideals associated with these amazing places. Our composers are Chris Chandler, Kevin Ernste, Ted Goldman, Tonia Ko, Aristea Mellos, David Clay Mettens, Robert Morris, Jeff Myers, Daniel Pesca, Adam Roberts, and Aaron Travers.
We recently completed our tour of the American southeast, with performances at Mammoth Cave, Great Smoky Mountains, and Shenandoah National Parks, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Louisville's historic Locust Grove, and The Theatre at Washington, Virginia. We performed our new works for over 2,000 people in and around the parks, helping new audiences to join the centennial #FindYourPark movement through music, and recorded in the field 30 stories underground in Mammoth Cave, on top of the Smokies' Purchase Knob, and in Shenandoah's Big Meadows. It was a wonderful experience performing in inspiring locations, working with the community of national park rangers, and sharing our music with diverse audiences. Here's a little taste of our first tour:
You can also read a review of our Smithsonian performance in the Washington Post here!
Our first tour was supported by an Imagine Your Parks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which allowed us to travel to all our performances throughout the southeast and support our musicians and A/V team. In August we're headed to the Pacific Northwest to perform free concerts at four of Washington state's amazing national parks, and we're excited to share our national park-inspired celebration with new audiences at Mount Rainier, Olympic, North Cascades, and San Juan Island National Parks!
August 4-5: San Juan Island National Historical Park
--Performances at American Camp and English Camp
August 6: Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center, Seattle, WA
August 7-10: North Cascades National Park
--Performances at Newhalem Campground, Environmental Learning Center, and Visitor Center
August 11-14: Mount Rainier National Park
--Performances at Paradise, Sunrise, and Ohanapecosh Campground
August 15-18: Olympic National Park
--Performances at Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest, and Mora Campground
Donations will go directly to travel, accommodation, performance production, and post tour media production costs. Each donation will allow us to reach larger audiences, archive more beautiful footage to share online, and help more parks across the country celebrate the momentous occasion of 100 years of the National Park Service protecting these treasured places. Every dollar past our initial goal will expand the reach of our project by allowing us to create and share more audio and video from our tour of the parks with people across the country and around the world!
Thanks for your support!
Music in the American Wild Ensemble
Emlyn Johnson, flute
Ellen Breakfield-Glick, clarinet
Lauren Becker, horn
Jeremy Potts, violin
Emily Sheil, viola
Daniel Ketter, cello
Colleen Bernstein, percussion
Photos by Geoff Sheil
Videos by Jorge Arzac
Excerpts of music by Aaron Travers, Chris Chandler, Ted Goldman, Aristea Mellos, and Tonia Ko, all recorded in the field by Music in the American Wild.
Risks and challenges
Although classical musicians often play outdoors, the musicians of Music in the American Wild have taken on a pretty unconventional and adventurous tour of performing at seven national parks. Playing outdoors presents many challenges, but an important aspect of the project is experiencing how each piece in our repertoire interacts with different environments, both for the performer and the listener. This makes many of our performance events dependent on environmental conditions, but we have alternate locations set for each performance and are using Luis & Clark carbon fiber string instruments, which are sturdier in a variety of outdoor environments.
We have successfully completed funding for our newly written works, our first tour, and our upcoming studio recording, so we are looking for the last piece of the puzzle: funding our August tour of Washington state's national parks. Our concert dates are set, the park rangers are ready for us, and we are hoping to defray some of our touring costs to alleviate the financial burden on our performing musicians.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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