Composer debuts new music in Leach Botanical Garden

INCLUDES TUNEFUL VIDEO | Learn about this special concert like no other, debuting two compositions by renowned musician Deena T. Grossman, in outer East Portland …

In the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, at the Leach Botanical Garden Upper Garden, guests at the “Flutes in the Garden” concert mingle, before it begins, in the meadow.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

While reporting on her concert, “Becoming Durga”, in July of 2022 at Leach Botanical Garden, (CLICK HERE to see the story and view the video) we were privileged to meet composer and musician Deena T. Grossman.

Learning that Grossman was returning this July 9, partnering once again with the Leach Botanical Garden for a concert called “Flutes in the Garden”, we were eager to discover what style of performance the composer had prepared this year for the Upper Garden, at the Aerial Tree Walk.

Guests help themselves to light refreshments before the concert begins.

Upon entering, guests were invited to enjoylight refreshments in the Upper Meadow, next to the Pollinator Garden. They were then directed to seating in the Fireside Arbor – and, surprisingly, also along the Aerial Tree Walk.

Composer and musician Deena T. Grossman talks with guests.

Starting the concert, Grossman welcomed attendees, and then honored the indigenous peoples who lived in the area. She also noted that all the proceeds of the concert would be divided equally between Columbia Riverkeeper, where she is a Composer in Residence, and Leach Botanical Garden.

Reading about a concert is like trying to listen to a photograph. Here excerpts of the unique music played at this distinctive outdoor concert:

About the program, Grossman explained that the title “Flutes in the Garden” is intended to celebrate “a universal interconnectedness and the importance of environmental stewardship by mirroring the rhythms, patterns, and fluidity of nature through music.”

Many of the guests are seated along the Leach Botanical Garden Aerial Tree Walk for this unique concert.

A concert like no other
With the unique seating arrangement, in which about half of the audience was seated along the circular Aerial Tree Walk, this exceptional concert transported attendees musically to even more lofty planes than under the forest canopy where they were sitting.

In some of the compositions, six expert musicians masterfully played instruments which included piccolo, flute, alto, and bass flute.

Guests were rapt as the music played.

The effect of the musically-immersive experience was mesmerizing; all present were clearly enraptured by the sounds of wind instruments mingled with the resonance of the natural surroundings.

The program included:

Snowy Egret, January Messenger – Grossman – performed by Powell Flutes Artist Amelia Lukas

* Circular Bridge – Grossman – performed by the sextet

Ritual Condition – Composed and performed by John C. Savage on alto flute

* Thrice Burned Forest – Grossman  – performed by the sextet

* Mr. Savage and Ms. Lukas were musically joined by Antares Boyle, Gabriela Gimenes, Elaine Martir, and Natalie Van Slyke in the World Premieres of these compositions.

Demonstrating the flute’s array of sonic possibilities, John C. Savage performed his composition, “Ritual Condition”.

As Grossman herself listened to “Circular Bridge” being performed, her face glowed radiantly as her music came to life, enthralling audience members.

As the final notes of the last piece of the evening echoed among the trees, attendees sat in contemplation for a few moments, before quietly leaving the natural area to attend the reception.

Composer Deena T. Grossman conducts the world debut of Thrice Burned Forest, played by flautists Gabriela Gimenes, Elaine Martir, Natalie Vanslyke, Tara Boyle, John Savage, and Amelia Lukas.

Learn more about Deena T. Grossman by visiting her website – where you’ll also be able to purchase or download her music: CLICK HERE.

For information about the concert site, Leach Botanical Garden, CLICK HERE. And to learn more about Columbia Riverkeeper, CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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