Music in the Mountains and Sierra Streams Institute explore the “Sounds of Silence”

When art and science collide, creative sparks fly. That’s the premise of a new partnership between Music in the Mountains (MIM) and Sierra Streams Institute (SSI), as they launch their Prelude for Yuba Salmon project this fall.

Prelude for Yuba Salmon is a collaborative adventure in musicianship, composing, and environmental stewardship. MIM’s Young Composers Project will team with educators at Sierra Streams Institute (SSI) and taken through a curriculum focused on the plight of the salmon and their importance to the environmental health of the region’s watershed. The curriculum will include both lab and field work. Students will then create a piece of music that responds to the their experience. The project will culminate in a composition to be premiered by the MIM Festival Orchestra during the 2014 summer festival. The experience, inspiration and process will be captured in a 20-minute documentary film, where the music created will also serve as score for the film.

The project has received seed funding from the Volgenau Foundation from Virginia. “Last October, we received an inquiry from the foundation about our education programs,” states Cristine Kelly, MIM’s executive director. “I mentioned the Prelude project and the foundation was immediately intrigued as it combined their areas of interest: conservation, education, and classical music. The project really took flight with their interest, we couldn’t have gotten off the ground without their support.”

“The Prelude project underscores the capacity for classical music to be directly responsive to contemporary social issues by creating a nexus of music, environment, and learning,” continued Kelly. “The goal is to educate both participants and audiences about the importance of community and environment, using music and film to tell the story.”

“Our ultimate goal is to submit the film to SYRCL’s 2015 Wild and Scenic Film Festival and have it be aired on public television.”

YCP is a cornerstone of MIM’s education programs. The innovative program serves to instill passion for classical music in our region’s youth, where they learn about composition, theory, harmony, counterpoint, setting text, music history, instrument background, conducting, rehearsals and performances.

“Not only are we excited about this project, but the kids and parents of this year’s class are thrilled to be participating,” says Mark Vance, MIM’s Education Coordinator and the principal teacher of Young Composers. “The buzz is definitely growing.”

Applications for this year’s Young Composers class are available online at The deadline for submitting applications is September 7.

Music in the Mountains inspires and connects people of all ages through extraordinary classical music performances, community engagement, and music education.    

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