Landscape Music 2022 Concert Series Celebrates Olmsted Parks

Lungs of the City: Olmsted’s Parks in Music

A Concert Series of New Chamber Music
Celebrating Public Parks & Commemorating Frederick Law Olmsted’s Birth

Featuring World Premieres by

Thumbnail image of Oliver Caplan
Oliver Caplan
Thumbnail image of Nell Shaw Cohen
Nell Shaw Cohen
Thumbnail image of Michael-Thomas Foumai
Michael-Thomas Foumai
Thumbnail image of Libby Meyer
Libby Meyer
Thumbnail image of Ayumi Okada
Ayumi Okada
Thumbnail image of Justin Ralls
Justin Ralls
Thumbnail image of Christina Rusnak
Christina Rusnak
Thumbnail image of Ryan Suleiman
Ryan Suleiman

Curated & Commissioned by

Landscape Music Logo

Music in the American Wild logo with bear

Juventas New Music Ensemble magenta logo
Michigan Technological University black and yellow logo

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Lungs of the City: Olmsted’s Parks in Music is a program of new chamber music commemorating the 2022 bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted, the 19th century American landscape architect who laid the groundwork for today’s public parks, famously envisioned Central Park as “the lungs of the city.” This unique concert program explores that sentiment through musical investigations of Olmsted’s living legacy of vital urban landscapes across the United States.

In a cross-regional collaboration amongst a consortium of ensembles and presenters, the concerts will take place in several cities in the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest U.S. during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2022 (dates and venues to be announced).

The all-World Premiere program will feature works for flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, viola, and cello, by composers Oliver Caplan, Nell Shaw Cohen, Michael-Thomas Foumai, Libby Meyer, Ayumi Okada, Justin Ralls, Christina Rusnak, and Ryan Suleiman. These accomplished and musically diverse composers, hailing from New York to Hawaiʻi, are members of Landscape Music: a network of composers and performers whose music engages with landscape, nature, and place.

Lungs of the City: Olmsted’s Parks in Music is co-curated and co-commissioned by Landscape Music in partnership with American Wild Ensemble (also a member of Landscape Music), a chamber ensemble which celebrates the people, places, and stories that shape American history and culture through the commission and performance of new music; Juventas New Music Ensemble, a Boston-based contemporary chamber group with a special focus on emerging voices; and Michigan Technological University Department of Visual and Performing Arts, which presents concerts of new music with notable guest performers. All three performance partners will be giving concerts of this program on their 2022 seasons.

1868 Vaux & Olmstead Map of Central Park, New York City

1868 Vaux & Olmsted Map of Central Park, New York City

Eight musical responses to notable designs by Olmsted and his sons’ firm, Olmsted Brothers, will bring audiences on an imaginative journey across the country. Locations to be highlighted tentatively include New York City’s Central Park, Prospect Park, and Fort Tryon Park; Boston’s Emerald Necklace and Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site; Atlanta’s Olmsted Linear Park; Detroit’s Bell Isle Park; Portland’s Forest Park; and Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park.

Each work of music will conceptually engage with these parks through the lens of Landscape Architecture & Design, Parks & Public Spaces, Public Health, Ecology & Sustainability, and/or Equity & Inclusion—core themes that are closely connected to Olmsted’s legacy and remain deeply relevant today.

For more information about Lungs of the City: Olmsted’s Parks in Music, please visit LandscapeMusic.com/Olmsted or contact Nell Shaw Cohen, Director of Landscape Music, at nell@landscapemusic.org.

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Olmsted 200 Celebrating Parks for All PeopleLandscape Music is proud to be a Celebration Partner of Olmsted 200.

April 26, 2022, marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, author, journalist, public official, city planner and father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted and his successor firms designed thousands of landscape projects across the country, transforming American life and culture. Olmsted’s vision of public parks for all people and his belief that parks strengthen communities and promote public well-being are now more important than ever.

Through events, education, and advocacy at the local and national levels, Olmsted 200 aims to keep Olmsted’s legacy alive by renewing public and policy commitments to the preservation and maintenance of our historic parks and places.

The National Association for Olmsted Parks is the managing partner of the Bicentennial. To learn more, visit the Olmsted 200 website for in-person and virtual event information, blog posts written by diverse thought leaders, teaching materials, and so much more. Subscribe to the Olmsted 200 newsletter for updates and inspiration, and follow Olmsted 200 on social media.

Free Event & New Music Video for Earth Day!

Since the start of 2020, Landscape Music’s composers have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with projects engaging environmental themes at the forefront of our global consciousness.

Our activities culminate this week with the 51st Earth Day! In this post, explore our:

  • Free online event this Wednesday (4/21)
  • Music video release
  • Round-up of featured Earth Year projects
  • Spotlights on the newest members of our network

Free Event This Wednesday, 4/21

U.S. Forest Service & VCAF present Earth Year Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 5:00pm PDT
Learn more and register now

Composers from Landscape Music and musicians from Citywater, Sacramento’s premier new music ensemble, present their work in a free online event with the Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival, presented by the U.S. Forest Service and Vallejo Community Arts Foundation.

The audience will hear the World Premiere performances of two brand new works for flute and cello by Juhi Bansal and Daniel Morel, celebrating diverse locales from the biosphere reserves of the Azores to the apple orchards of Missouri. Composers Nell Shaw Cohen, Derek Keller, and Ryan Suleiman will introduce excerpts from their works, which respond to Andy Goldsworthy’s land art; the Sacramento watershed; and the devastation of the 2017 Sonoma wildfires, respectively.

This live presentation will conclude with an audience Q&A. Join us!


New Music Video by Anne Vanschothorst

Windmill

JUST RELEASED! Video “more birds more happiness” highlights sustainable energy through the beauty of wind power. New music for harp and soundscapes by Landscape Music composer Anne Vanschothorst are paired with film & photography of wind turbines in Zeeland, Netherlands.

“Between nature and music there is a mysterious, irreplaceable and eternal mystical connection. Besides conducting a symphony of sounds, nature gives, just like music, a source of inspiration and a place to be oneself.” Read more & watch the video!


More Earth Year Projects from Our Artists

In YouTube series Reflections on Music and NatureRyan Suleiman interviews composers, performers, and musical curators about the role of the natural world in their work in these troubled times.

 

Christina Rusnak‘s two new works for chamber ensemble, Dune and Water and Stone, are inspired by her time in Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park.

 

Michael Futreal‘s short film Sentinels features animated photography scored with new music, evoking overlooked elements of a landscape that take on an animistic, mythic character.

 

Blueprints for Hope is a new work for concert band by Katherine Bergman in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, commissioned and premiered by a consortium of seven ensembles.

 


Spotlight on New Members


Music in the American Wild album coverAmerican Wild Ensemble
 (Springfield, MO)

Founded through a national touring initiative celebrating the National Park Service centennial, American Wild Ensemble encourages audiences to explore their environments through a different lens.

“American Wild Ensemble celebrates the people, places, and stories that shape American history and culture.” Visit American Wild Ensemble’s profile.

 

Portrait of Michael-Thomas Foumai

Michael-Thomas Foumai (Honolulu, HI)

Many of Foumai’s “vibrant and cinematic” works are inspired by his Hawaiʻi home.

“It is vital for me to create and to use music to tell the stories of our time, of what was, is and may come in the ever changing landscape of our blue island earth.” Visit Foumai’s profile.

 

Thumbnail image of Randy GibsonRandy J. Gibson (Philadelphia, PA)

Gibson’s “Tacony Creek Suite” is a monumental reflection of the beauty and travails of an under-appreciated green space in Philadelphia.

“My compositions are all duality in nature.” Visit Gibson’s profile.

 

Portrait of Ayumi Okada on city streetAyumi Okada (New York, NY)

Rich with melodic interest and storytelling, Okada’s music captures her impressions of scenery in New York City and Kyoto, Japan.

“Drawing a landscape with music is one of my biggest inspirations in composing.” Visit Okada’s profile.

 

Jessi HarveyJessi Harvey (Saint Paul, MN)

Harvey’s music, “full of surprises and consistently attention holding,” integrates creation with social and environmental causes.

“My music draws back to my childhood in the mountains of Montana.” Visit Harvey’s profile.

 

Portrait of Takuma Itoh at pianoTakuma Itoh (Honolulu, HI)

Itoh’s “brashly youthful and fresh” works raise awareness of Hawai‘i’s many endangered bird species.

“What I find most meaningful in my work is connecting with people.” Visit Itoh’s profile.

 

View our full list of 32 members (and growing!).

Landscape Music Membership Opens to Performing Artists & Ensembles

Landscape Music began in 2015 as a composers’ collective, highlighting the work of composers and composer-performers based in the United States. Membership grew to include international artists, and now we are inviting performing artists, and performing ensembles, to join the ranks of our featured artists!

Like our composers and composer-performers, all performers and ensembles invited to Landscape Music will have demonstrated a deep, sustained engagement with themes of landscape, nature, and/or place in their bodies of work, across multiple projects. With the addition of performers, Landscape Music promises to become increasingly effective as a platform, a community, and a catalyst for collaborations.

Music in the American Wild album coverOur very first performing ensemble member is the American Wild Ensemble. Comprised of Emlyn Johnson, flute; Ellen Breakfield-Glick, clarinet; Lauren Becker, horn; Hanna Hurwitz, violin; Alexander Peña, viola; Daniel Ketter, cello; and Colleen Bernstein, percussion, this chamber ensemble has done incredible work commissioning and performing music inspired by landscape, nature, and place. It’s an honor to feature them on LandscapeMusic.org. In their words:

“American Wild Ensemble celebrates the people, places, and stories that shape American history and culture through the commission and performance of new music. The American Wild Ensemble specializes in context-driven music that encourages our audiences to explore their environments through a different lens, engage with contemporary music in a new way, and foster the sense of community between performers, listeners, and the spaces that surround them. We design programming that is unique to each of our partnering organizations or locations, offering cohesive, site-inspired performances, workshops, and special events that support and reflect the vision of our collaborators.”

Listen to recordings of their performances and learn more at the ensemble’s member profile.

More performing members will be announced very soon!

To facilitate the growth of Landscape Music, the invitation process has been streamlined with a formal application. Inquiries are welcome from composers, performers, and performing ensembles who are interested in joining the network. Please submit an application using this Google Form.

—Nell Shaw Cohen
Founder & Director, Landscape Music