Thoughts on a “Celebration of Nature” from AYS Leadership and Musician

After announcing our 2019/20 Season, we wanted to gather thoughts on the season theme, “A Celebration of Nature” from our AYS leadership and musicians. We strive to inspire awareness and social change on a variety of issues in our world, last year focusing on women’s rights and representation in classical music. We are excited to share impressions of the environmental programming theme from our Music Director, Executive Director, Board Member, and our new Principal Cellist.

Throughout the season we will also be featuring music and nature stories in our blog, newsletter, and social media to build awareness on how sound and the natural world are interconnected. 

Carlos Izcaray, Music Director

I’m happy to be starting my fourth season with our exceptionally talented AYS musicians. Mother Nature has inspired artists across the centuries, and there has been ample material for crafting the 2019/20 season around the theme of celebrating our earth, our planet, our home. 

This season we’re celebrating nature and exploring repertoire that has been inspired by our relationship with nature and our planet.  One such example is Sequoia by American master, Joan Tower.  And, of course, the “Pastoral,” a programmatic symphony that was very important to Beethoven. He wrote this piece as a statement about nature and man’s relationship with natural phenomena.

Tara Aesquivel, Executive Director

Music is everywhere in nature, and it’s no surprise that composers and musicians across all of music history have been inspired by or tried to emulate the sounds of nature.  Philosophers across the ages have also been inspired to explain mysteries of the natural world through musical ideas, like the music of the spheres or string theory. 

Acoustics are a natural phenomenon, and the orchestra is a collection of beautifully-crafted instruments designed to produce specific frequencies and sound waves.  They all come together to produce a magnificent symphonic sound.

From everyday sounds, like a melodious bird song, to musical masterpieces, I hope our Celebration of Nature will encourage audience members to enjoy the music all around them.

Krystyna Newman, Board of Directors Vice Chairman

Music and art throughout history have commented on the events and issues in the moment of the times.  There could not be a more important time for us, now, to be reverent and celebratory of our environment and, therefore, nature and our planet as a whole–including all of us who live here together and affect each other every day. Carlos is wonderfully mindful in his programming, which speaks to these issues.  The AYS Celebration of Nature allows us to immerse ourselves in the joy of this music, as well as giving us the opportunity to be reflective of the larger picture.

Alex Mansour, AYS Principal Cellist

The concept of “nature” strikes me as initially peculiar in context of the modern orchestra – an assembly of performers, objects and sounds that is quite the opposite of a natural phenomenon. Yet the instruments that comprise such a group belong fundamentally to the wood and wind of the living world. The diverse composers programmed this year have been inspired, with their various, distinct languages, to interact with such themes in search of a music that captures the majesty, terror, and beauty of various environments.  Especially in a time when we must evolve to address changing ecosystems, the arts provide a wonderful platform to engage with the world around us. It is a privilege to be joining AYS, especially upon such an exciting season.

American Youth Symphony

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