Documentary capturing orchestral performance at Oregon’s spectacular Crater Lake premieres on SOPTV, 9PM, August 22, 2017
Medford — August 8, 2017. SOPTV announced today the new documentary “Symphony for Nature: The Britt Orchestra at Crater Lake” will premiere at 9PM, August 22, 2017.
The new half-hour documentary artfully portrays the world premiere of “Natural History,” the powerful composition by Michael Gordon inspired by and performed at Oregon’s breathtaking Crater Lake. The original musical work, commissioned by the Britt Music & Arts Festival in honor of the centennial of America’s National Park Service, brought members of the Britt Orchestra together with a diverse ensemble of musicians, including the Klamath tribe family drum group Steiger Butte Singers, regional choristers, brass and percussionists, conducted by Music Director Teddy Abrams. “We started with what would be the most spectacular moving experience we could think of–that’s always a good place to start,” said Abrams.
Underlying this collaboration is the connection originally forged by 19th century photographer, Peter Britt, whom the music festival is named after, and whose former estate in Jacksonville, Oregon now serves as home for the summer concert series. Peter Britt took the first photograph of Crater Lake, an image that played a major role in the creation of the national park, and forever linked Crater Lake with the Britt Music & Arts Festival.
As the film reveals, Crater Lake has been a source of inspiration to human beings for thousands of years. Fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the most pristine on earth. Gordon researched and worked on his composition over the course of a year, culminating in the premiere of “Natural History” at Watchman’s Overlook on the rim of Crater Lake in July 2016. Gordon’s captivating, organic music celebrates the park’s natural wonders and the communities that surround it: he envisioned his composition as “an experiential spectacle….It’s about our relationship to the natural world,” said Gordon in the film. “There’s a Crater Lake symphony going on all year long, we’re just going to add our voices to it.”
Gordon met with the Steiger Butte Singers during his artist-in-residency at Crater Lake, also known as “giiwas” to the Klamath people. Giiwas translates to “spiritual place.” His meeting with the Klamath drum group, along with his research about how historical figures like Henry David Thoreau and early pioneers thought about nature, influenced both the music and the text of “Natural History.”
To create the documentary, director Anne Flatté and her crew recorded rehearsals, interviews and the performances. “It was essential to show the dynamic interaction between this extraordinary work of musical art and the spectacular setting, and also include historical photos and legends that help reveal the eternal power of Crater Lake,” said Flatté. “The movie will allow many more people to experience the vision, sound and spirit of this once-in-a-lifetime musical collaboration.”
Director: Anne Flatté l Executive Producer: Owsley Brown
Presenting Public Television Station: Southern Oregon Public Television.
A coproduction of Owsley Brown Presents and Britt Music & Arts Festival.
Broadcast Premiere Date: 9PM August 22, 2017
Running Time: 27 minutes
About Owsley Brown Presents
Owsley Brown Presents (OBP) is an independent motion picture production company that produces original contemporary media works with an emphasis on artistic integrity and creative exploration. OBP productions include award-winning, feature-length documentaries that have enjoyed distribution via film festivals, theatrical and broadcast television release worldwide. OBP also develops and produces creative programming for distribution on the worldwide web and other digital platforms. Filmmaker Anne Flatté, based in San Francisco, directed Symphony for Nature for OBP. Flatté has produced, directed and edited on many independent documentaries, and has focused on music-related subjects over the last fifteen years. She is director/producer of the original web series Music Makes A City NOW, and producer of Serenade for Haiti (Serenad pou Ayiti), directed by Owsley Brown. www.owsleybrownpresents.com
About Britt Music & Arts Festival
Britt Music & Arts Festival, a non-profit organization, is the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor summer performing arts festival. Located in the historic 1850s gold rush town of Jacksonville, Oregon (USA), Britt presents dozens of summer concerts, featuring world-class artists in classical music, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, pop and country music. Brittís performance venue is a naturally formed amphitheater set among majestic ponderosa pines and native madrones on the beautiful hillside estate of 19th century photographer Peter Britt. Oregon’s only National Park, Crater Lake, is a scenic two-hour drive from Britt. Founded in 1963, the Britt Orchestra Season features a professional orchestra of 90 musicians who come from all over the United States for a three-week stay in southern Oregon. Internationally renowned guest artists join the orchestra each August to present a series of extraordinary concerts under a canopy of stars. “Natural History” is the Britt Festival’s first site-specific orchestral commission and was conducted by Music Director Teddy Abrams.
About Teddy Abrams, Music Director
An unusually versatile musician, Teddy Abrams is a widely acclaimed conductor, as well as an established pianist, clarinetist, and composer. Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Orchestra, he also serves as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra. An accomplished pianist and clarinetist, Abrams has appeared as a soloist with a number of orchestras including playing and conducting the Ravel Piano Concerto with the Jacksonville Symphony in fall 2013 and has performed chamber music with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Time for Three and John Adams, in addition to annual appearances at the Olympic Music Festival. Abrams is dedicated to exploring new and engaging ways to communicate with a diverse range of audiences.
About Michael Gordon, Composer
Michael Gordon, who is based in New York, has been composing music for more than 25 years, and has been commissioned by many major orchestras. Over the last few years, Gordon has experimented with translating places into sound symphonies, creating major compositions for New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. His music embodies, in the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.” Gordon visited Crater Lake several times over the course of his time as artist-in-residence at the iconic park in order to conceive a musical response to the place. The resulting new work, Natural History, was performed five times over the course of the two days.
About Crater Lake
Crater Lake National Park is in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. Itís known for its namesake Crater Lake, formed by the now-collapsed volcano, Mount Mazama. Wizard Island is a cinder cone near the western edge of the lake. Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon. In 1874, pioneer photographer Peter Britt took the first photograph of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon. That image played a major role in later efforts to create a national park at Crater Lake. In 1963, Peter Britt’s Jacksonville estate became the site of the newly founded Britt Music and Arts Festival, forever linking the Britt Orchestra to the artistic legacy of the park. www.nps.gov/crla
Southern Oregon Public Television is a PBS member station serving southern Oregon and northern California. As an independent media voice, Southern Oregon Public Television enriches our understanding of the past, enlivens our present, and prepares us for the future by connecting our community with quality local and national programming that educates, enlightens, inspires, and entertains. www.soptv.org