Inspiring premier of “Prelude for Yuba Salmon” at Music in the Mountains

We thoroughly enjoyed hearing Music in the Mountains’ Artistic Director Pete Nowlen conduct the premier for “Prelude for Yuba Salmon” at the Amaral Center in Grass Valley on Sunday.

It marked a year-long collaborative adventure in music, environment, composition and film for local young musicians. Mentored by professional musicians, the students composed music reflecting their experience and learning about the native salmon run and the importance of watershed conservation.

The project is being documented in a 30-minute film that follows the young composers’ journey through their environmental learning and workshops with orchestra musicians. The music serves as the score for the film, which will be submitted to the 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival and to KVIE Sacramento in September.

The inspiring compositions were based on the thoughts and experiences of 10 young composers and were performed live to video of salmon and the Yuba River. Mark Vance was the education coordinator. The Amaral Center was decorated with artwork depicting the Yuba, a welcome touch.

We enjoyed the vigor of “Hero’s Introduction” and the leisurely pace of others such as “Salmon Rebirth.” The orchestra and video worked well together. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about “Prelude for Yuba Salmon.”

Trujillo Dazzled

Violinist Ray Anthony Trujillo, whom we had heard before, also was a highlight of Sunday’s “Young Geniuses” performance.

The music on Sunday included “Symphony in D” by Juan Chrisostomo Arriaga, “Violin Concerto No. 4” by Mozart, Overture to Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn, all preceding Prelude for Yuba Salmon. All were “Young Geniuses” in their own right.

Ryan Murray also was a conductor, along with Nowlen. Nowlen is proving to be a real asset to MIM, with his talent and sense of humor.

The composers were Jake Collins, 18, Hero’s Introduction; Caroline Bronson, 18, The Call; George Daly, 15, Wind’s Dance; Miles Campbell, 19, Iceola; Toby Thomas-Rose, 17, Salmon Rebirth; Elissa Karim, 18, River Run; Callum McKean, 15, Stream Logic; Jesse Haennelt, 19, Our Backyard; Willem Cole Traupel, 16, Salmon’s Journey; and Kehan Wenger, 16, Salmon Jump.

The MIM SummerFest is off to a wonderful start. We enjoyed the “Grand Fiddler’s Rally” the previous night, led by renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. We hope you can enjoy a performance between now and July 3. For more information, visit MusicintheMountains.org.

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