The Britt Festival Orchestra announces its 2021 season, presenting three unique musical experiences
Published: June 25, 2021
Who: Teddy Abrams, Ellen Reid, Caroline Shaw, and the Britt Festival Orchestra
SOUNDWALK: Online Thursday, July 1 through Friday, October 15
A Magical Night at Britt: Your BFO Returns to Read the Classics: In-person Sunday, July 25, 2021
Brush: Music in the Woodlands: In-person Friday, July 30 through Monday, August 2
SOUNDWALK: City of Jacksonville, Oregon
A Magical Night at Britt: Your BFO Returns to Read the Classics: Britt Pavilion
Brush: Music in the Woodlands: Jul 30, 31, Aug 1/Jacksonville Woodlands Trails / Aug. 2 (Only) – Britt Pavilion
Tickets: FREE (registration required for Brush: Music in the Woodlands at brittfest.org)
The Britt Festival Orchestra (BFO), under the leadership of the festival’s Music Director, Teddy Abrams, is announcing three unique musical experiences for its 2021 season. It begins with a virtual installation art piece titled Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK that will be accessible through a smartphone app from July 1 through October 15. Then, the live performance portion of the BFO season kicks off with a free informal reading of classic pieces on the Britt main stage entitled A Magical Night at Britt: Your BFO Returns to Read the Classics on July 25. And as previously announced, Britt is excited to bring a specially commissioned work to the Jacksonville Woodland Trails system from July 30 – August 2: Brush: Music in the Woodlands.
First staged in Central Park in New York City, a Britt Festival Orchestra version of the SOUNDWALK installation art piece created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and sound artist Ellen Reid will be presented within the city of Jacksonville, Oregon from July 1 through October 15, 2021. Performed in part by members of the Britt Festival Orchestra, SOUNDWALK is a GPS-enabled public art work that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. This installment of SOUNDWALK is tailor-made for Jacksonville, created to encourage calm reflection and introspection. Audience members will download the free Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK app to their smartphone, install The Britt Festival Orchestra Soundwalk, put on headphones, press play, and explore parts of Jacksonville on foot or by car on an adventure to discover amazing and varied musical elements in various locations around the town and surrounding trail systems. Every person’s experience will be different as they choose their own path based on a map built into the app.
Ellen Reid is excited to share this piece of musical installment art with the world. The installment will explore interesting points around the city of Jacksonville by guiding users of the app to different locations within the city using the GPS location of each phone. Audience members are free to explore the city at any time of day from July 1st until October 15th, 2021, providing each listener a personal experience of the music. “This piece gets listeners out of the traditional concert hall experience and encourages them to explore parts of Jacksonville that they might not have known about before,” Reid tells us. “I recommend exploring each zone carefully, as we’ve hidden a few ‘Easter eggs’ – locations within the different zones that contain little sonic surprises.” One of the most innovative artists of her generation, Ellen Reid is a composer and sound artist whose breadth of work spans opera, sound design, film scoring, ensemble, and choral writing. She was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, p r i s m.
This special event is free to attend. All that is required is a smartphone with the Ellen Reid Soundwalk app installed, plus a pair of headphones attached to the phone. Once the app is installed, the listener will be asked to allow the app to use the phone’s location services and download The Britt Festival Orchestra Soundwalk. The app for iPhone and Android phones can be downloaded here:
Support for this project is provided by Pacific Retirement Services, Rogue Valley Manor, and individual donors.
A Magical Night at Britt: Your BFO Returns to Read the Classics
On Sunday, July 25, the BFO is planning a fun, casual evening on the Britt main stage starting at 7:30 PM. Kick off the BFO season with a free informal reading of classic pieces performed by members of the Britt Festival Orchestra led by Music Director Teddy Abrams. No registration required. Open Seating (first come, first served).
Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Aaron Copland: Selections from Rodeo: Corral Nocturne and Saturday Night Waltz
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Jupiter Symphony
Brush: Music in the Woodlands continues Britt’s efforts to take the BFO into distinct outdoor settings to highlight the relationship between music and nature. These efforts are foundational to Britt’s mission and have become a point of emphasis for the BFO since our 2016 Crater Lake Project. “We’ve always been dreaming about a successor to the Crater Lake Project, another piece that brings music together with nature,” Music Director and Conductor Teddy Abrams said. “Given that Britt’s venue is immediately next to these beautiful Woodland Trails in Jacksonville, it seems only natural that we would connect these two elements together. Caroline is the perfect person to imagine this music. She has such a creative mind and spirit of wonder that lend themselves well to developing this kind of experience.”
Following her time as the 2019 Composer/Conductor Fellow, Caroline Shaw is excited to explore her new musical experience with the world. “It points toward the idea of experiencing a brief encounter with something new and unexpected (“a brush with…”), and thinking about musical textures and ideas as brushstrokes, and of course the image of the brush in the woodlands,” says Shaw. Brush: Music in the Woodlands will explore interesting points along the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails by spreading small groups of BFO musicians along a 2.5-mile loop. Audience members are free to roam the area, providing each listener a personal experience of the music. On her vision of the musical experience, Shaw says, “Ultimately, I want the piece to be about how we listen and how we pay attention to the world around us, and if you give the world just a little bit more of a moment, you’ll notice something you wouldn’t have noticed before.” A recognized composer of pieces that range from voice and solo instruments to orchestras, this is Shaw’s first work created for a site-specific outdoor performance.
This special event is free to attend, but given a desire to minimize environmental impacts, registration will be required and is now open through the Performance listings at brittfest.org. On each individual performance page, click the “Buy Tickets” button to register.
For patrons who are unable to walk the Woodlands Trails, Britt is offering a performance of Brush: Music in the Woodlands on the Britt Hill on Monday, August 2nd. Patrons may sit in the bench seating or on the ADA pads and enjoy the full performance. The performance will begin at 7:30 PM. Reservations are required. Please contact the Britt Box Office for special assistance at 541-773-6077.
Friday, July 30, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Saturday, July 31, 10 AM – 12:30 PM
Saturday, July 31, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Sunday, August 1, 10 AM – 12:30 PM
Sunday, August 1, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Monday, August 2, 7:30 PM (Britt Pavilion)
Support for this project was provided by Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, the Oregon Community Foundation, Cutler Investment Group, and individual donors.
No concessions will be available during 2021 BFO events. Remember to bring your own beverages and snacks.
About the Britt Festival Orchestra and Britt Music & Arts Festival
Founded in 1963, the Britt Festival Orchestra brings together 90 professional musicians from across the United States for three weeks of open-air performances each summer. Forming the heart of the annual Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Britt Festival Orchestra Season takes place in Jacksonville, Oregon, less than half an hour’s drive from the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
The festival was the brainchild of Portland conductor John Trudeau and musician Sam McKinney, who came to southern Oregon in search of the perfect location. When they discovered the superb natural acoustics and stunning views of Britt Park – the former hillside estate of Jacksonville pioneer Peter Britt, a Swiss-born photographer who became one of Oregon’s most celebrated citizens – they knew that they had found it. In 1963, with a small chamber orchestra on a makeshift stage, the first summer outdoor music festival in the Pacific Northwest was born.
Since its grassroots beginnings, the non-profit organization has grown from a two-week chamber festival to a multi-disciplinary summer-long concert series with year-round education and engagement programs too. Constructed 40 years ago, the 2,200-capacity Britt Pavilion enables Britt to present world-class artists while maintaining the intimacy for which it is known.
An unusually versatile musician, Teddy Abrams is the widely-acclaimed Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra. A tireless advocate for the power of music, Abrams has fostered interdisciplinary collaborations with organizations including the Louisville Ballet, the Center for Interfaith Relations, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Speed Art Museum, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. His rap-opera, The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, premiered in 2017, celebrating Louisville’s hometown hero with an all-star cast that included Rhiannon Giddens and Jubilant Sykes. Abrams’ work with the Louisville Orchestra has been profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning, NPR, and in The Wall Street Journal.
Ellen Reid is one of the most innovative artists of her generation. A composer and sound artist whose breadth of work spans opera, sound design, film scoring, ensemble and choral writing, she was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, p r i s m.
Along with composer Missy Mazzoli, Ellen co-founded the Luna Composition Lab. Luna Lab is a mentorship program for young self-identified female, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming composers. Since the fall of 2019, she has served as Creative Advisor and Composer-in-Residence for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Reid received her BFA from Columbia College, Columbia University and her MA from California Institute of the Arts. She is inspired by music from all over the globe, and she splits her time between her two favorite cities – Los Angeles and New York. Her music is released on Decca Gold.
“Reid, in a word, has arrived” – LA Times
Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, Seattle Symphony, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, the LA Philharmonic, Juilliard 415, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three-part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.