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Shaping A Forest Unfolding


Dec 07 2018


12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Forum for Scholars and Publics

011 Old Chemistry Building, Duke's West Campus Quad

Shaping the Forest

[ Click above to download the flyer ]


Shaping the Forest: Making Art with Multiple Creators

Melinda Wagner, Eric Moe, and Stephen Jaffe with Jonathan Bagg

The three composers discuss how their new work A Forest Unfolding was created collectively, and how in doing so “a magical creative energy emerged during this collaborative adventure between performers, authors, and composers.” Premiered in August 2018 at two summer festivals, A Forest Unfolding will be performed on December 8, 2018, at Duke University. It grew from novelist Richard Powers’ idea of making a work of art the way a forest grows — cooperatively, rather than individualistically. Powers, whose novel The Overstory was a finalist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, collected writings from several authors and poets (including himself), and will perform at Duke as A Forest Unfolding’s narrator. Also on stage will be six musicians and two singers.

Free and open to the public. Light lunch served. Sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

An Unusual Collaboration Creates a Musical “Forest,” David Weininger, The Boston Globe, August 1, 2018

“Everything in the forest is the forest. Trees fight no more than do the leaves on a single tree.” These lines come from “The Overstory,” a vast and ambitious novel by Richard Powers published earlier this year. They embody, in concentrated form, the insights of a movement in environmental studies known as “the new forestry.” It is based on remarkable discoveries about the behavior of trees gleaned over the last few decades — specifically, that trees behave cooperatively rather than individualistically. They exchange nutrients, protect one another, even communicate through the air … Keep Reading


Melinda Wagner

Melinda Wagner received widespread attention when her colorful Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. Since then, major works have included Concerto for Trombone, for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic, a piano concerto, Extremity of Sky, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony for Emanuel Ax, and Little Moonhead, composed…...

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Eric Moe

Eric Moe, composer of what the NY Times has called “music of winning exuberance,” has received numerous grants and awards for his work, including the Lakond Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship; commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky…...

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Stephen Jaffe

Recent seasons have marked the introduction of two milestones for composer Stephen Jaffe: the world premiere of the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by the National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin conducting, with David Hardy, cello soloist (at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.); and the premiere recording of the Concerto for Violin…...

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Jonathan Bagg

Duke University

Jonathan Bagg is Professor of the Practice at Duke University, and violist of the Ciompi String Quartet. His career with the Ciompi includes hundreds of concerts across the U.S. and around the world, as well as many recordings. Currently co-Artistic Director of Electric Earth Concerts in New Hampshire, which he…...

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