Through an educational grant the Sonora Winds (Madeline Miller (oboe), Anastasiya Nyzkodub (clarinet), and Marta Troicki (bassoon) ) invited Jenni Brandon, composer, to join them as they presented concerts and spoke remotely to middle school and high school students across the country during the spring of 2021. During these online sessions, Sonora Winds presented a pre-recorded video of Jenni’s work “The Sequoia Trio for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon”, including pictures of Sequoia Trees, and the text of John Muir that inspired the work.
After the music portion, the ensemble and Jenni answered questions about the music and being a musician and composer asked by the students and their teachers in an interactive and informative session.
The following schools, thus far, have participated in the Sonora Winds & Jenni Brandon program:
Panorama Middle School in Colorado Springs, CO – May 20, 2021
Roseville Middle School, Roseville, MN May 25, 2021
Roseville Middle School, Roseville, MN May 27, 2021
More information about the Sonora Winds:
The Sonora Winds, a Twin Cities-based woodwind chamber group, believes that access to excellent classical music enriches lives. By presenting unique music through outreach and education, overlooked composers and well-known standards can be discovered, rediscovered, and appreciated on an intellectual and emotional level. By performing and discussing programs, the musicians of Sonora winds can stimulate, enrich, and impact varied audiences.
The three women of the Sonora Winds, Madeline Miller (oboe), Anastasiya Nyzkodub (clarinet), and Marta Troicki (bassoon), are eagerly searching for new repertoire that will entertain and educate. They are motivated to continue sharing these unique programs with all audiences across the United States, and beyond.
I had returned from a trip to Sequoia National Park in July of 2008 and was inspired by the great trees. I knew that these would be the basis for the new work, and in searching for a voice of these great trees I turned to the words of John Muir for inspiration.
Each movement of The Sequoia Trio (oboe, clarinet, bassoon sheet music) takes a quote about Sequoia trees from John Muir’s book The Yosemite and uses it to inspire the music. The opening waving pattern creates the gentle breeze as the growth of the tree starts in the bassoon, moving through the clarinet and is carried all the way to the top of the tree through the oboe. Movement two is sassy and jazzy, describing the kind of resilient attitude that young trees must maintain in order to survive. “The Three Graces” plays on the idea of the three instruments in the ensemble and Muir’s own reference to Greek mythology. Finally in “The Noble Trees” the instruments play a hymn-like tribute to the largest living things on earth. The two “Tree Interludes” represent the individual voice of a tree and its story.
This piece was written during my composer residency with the Vientos Trio during 2008-2009.
Movement I Sequoiadendron giganteum: The Big Tree
“Southward the giants become more and more irrepressibly jubilant, heaving their massive crowns into the sky from every ridge and slope, waving onward in graceful compliance with the complicated topography of the region.”
Tree Interlude One
Movement II.“A crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings…”
“But here for every old storm-beaten giant there are many in their prime and for each of these a crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings, growing vigorously on moraines, rocky ledges, along water courses and meadows.”
Movement III. The Three Graces
“Groups of two or three (sequoias) are often found standing close together…They are called “loving couples,” “three graces,” etc… By the time they are full-grown their trunks will touch and crowd against each other…”
Tree Interlude Two
Movement IV. The Noble Trees
“…the Big Trees (sequoia gigantean), the king of all the conifers in the world, ‘the noblest of the noble race.’”
– Quotes taken from The Yosemite, 1912
by John Muir
Text is in the public domain.
This work appears on two CDs:
SONGS OF CALIFORNIA: MUSIC FOR WINDS AND PIANO, released by Jenni Brandon
FROM EARTH & SKY: MUSIC OF JENNI BRANDON on the Blue Griffin Recording label
“The Sequoia Trio for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon” sheet music is available on Jenni’s website at “The Sequoia Trio for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon”