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George Eastman Museum and Eastman School of Music bring Music in the American Wild project to Rochester


Eastman School of Music musicians to perform a free garden concert on Sunday, July 31


Rochester, N.Y., July 25, 2016--The George Eastman Museum and the Eastman School of Music have partnered to bring an ensemble of Eastman School of Music musicians to the museum to perform newly composed works celebrating the National Park Service’s centennial. In conjunction with the museum’s exhibition Photography and America’s National Parks, on view this summer, the FREE garden concert will be held on Sunday, July 31, at 2 p.m. in the museum’s Terrace Garden. In addition to the concert, the museum is offering a reduced regular admission fee of $10 (regularly $14) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 31.

Music in the American Wild is an initiative of Eastman School of Music musicians, made up of eleven composers and eight performers. The group is touring the country to fill iconic American locations with a new opus of inherently American music, all in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The George Eastman Museum is one of twelve national parks and historic sites hosting performances. Other stops on the tour include Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark in Louisville, Kentucky; Mammoth Cave National Park; Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the Theatre at Washington, Virginia; Shenandoah National Park; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; San Juan Island National Historical Park; Chapel Performance Space, Seattle; North Cascades National Park; Mount Rainier National Park; and Olympic National Park.

“To have this talented ensemble of Eastman School–trained musicians celebrate the great outdoors in George Eastman’s own garden is a joyful confluence of several of Mr. Eastman’s passions,” said Laura Sadowski, Vice President of Community Engagement, George Eastman Museum. “And Music in the American Wild is the perfect complement to the museum’s Photography and America’s National Parks exhibition.”

Working in locations ranging from caves to mountaintops to indoor theaters, flutist Emlyn Johnson, who initiated and directs the Music in the American Wild project, set up and tailored each acoustic concert program to its venue so that listeners can hear and enjoy how the music interacts with the environment. An anonymous donation of Luis and Clark instruments—a carbon fiber cello, violin, and viola—is helping Johnson solve some of the challenges of outdoor performance. The carbon fiber instruments are stronger and hardier in different environmental conditions such as changing humidity, and produce a powerful sound that can be heard clearly outdoors.

“In this increasingly digital age, it’s easy to forget that for most of its history music has been inspired by the natural world, whether that meant the imitation of birdsong or exploring man’s relationship with his surroundings,” said Johnson. “We are excited to celebrate and reconnect with the creative spark offered by our own backyard wilderness, and we hope to inspire audiences and other artists to connect with our national parks through creative acts.”

Field recordings and short videos made along the Music in the American Wild tour will be streamed and archived online. In the fall, the musicians will present a concert at their alma mater and head into the studio to make a formal recording of the music.

For more information about the free concert, visit eastman.org.