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New arts organization plans performances in Plumas

This February sees the launch of Musica Sierra, a new arts organization with the goal of creating a sustainable, cultural treasure for Plumas and Sierra counties and surrounding areas.

Founded by Lindsay McIntosh, a Truckee-born oboist, and her collaborator, cellist Anthony Albrecht, these two Juilliard graduates are keen to introduce Musica Sierra to the community with a series of events.

Musica Sierra will host an Ensemble-in-Residence for a series of projects throughout the year, offering an exciting calendar of world-class performances in community venues around the region, as well as developing a presence in local schools.

Students will have the opportunity to experience interactive music workshops of the highest caliber. Music education has proven benefits for children’s learning capacity, focus and mental health. Musica Sierra intends to make these experiences accessible for all in an area that lacks musical opportunities in many of its schools.

The inaugural Ensemble-in-Residence is New Vintage Baroque, an ensemble praised by the New York Times for its “buoyant pulse … appealing energy” and “thoughtfully conceived” programming.

Founded at The Juilliard School in 2013, the group has gone from strength to strength, with a membership of some of the country’s finest musicians who work across a multiple of musical genres and styles.

February will see performances of “Where Song Began,” a multimedia work which tells the story of the evolution of songbirds with live music, projected visuals and an immersive soundscape.

It will be an action-packed week, with schools workshops, including a performance at the University of Nevada, Reno Hall Recital Hall on Friday, Feb. 14, and the official launch in Loyalton at the Milton-Gottari Museum on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Wine and canapés will be served, and speeches from supporters, including the Sierra Schools Foundation and the Sierra County Arts Council, will be followed by a performance of “Where Song Began.”

To experience the extraordinary talent of these musicians and learn all about the plans and goals of Musica Sierra, visit www.musicasierra.org for more information.

About the performance

“Where Song Began” is a musical celebration of Australia’s birds and how they shaped the world.

Inspired by leading ornithologist Tim Low’s award-winning book, this 50-minute performance explores the Australian origins of song, the birds that can sing. Such is their evolutionary significance, one may ask whether human music would have reached the heights it has, had the first songbird not sung in an Australian rainforest.

Accessible for all ages, this work encourages the audience to contemplate the origin of song and the importance of Australia’s rich and colorful bird history, as well as their evolutionary and cultural influences in Europe and North America.

The program includes music spanning 300 years, from Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and J.S. Bach to Arvo Pärt and new Australian works, enhanced by a film of evocative visual projections, and an immersive soundscape.

“Where Song Began” has been performed over 60 times across Australia, as well as in New York and London. It has been hailed in the press as “… a work of art; a transfixing soundscape that embraces cultures and ages, the composed and the improvised, the indigenous and the stylized and which highlights the utterly unique birdsongs of Australia.”

About the performers      Simone Slattery, a 2018 Churchill Fellow, received a Ph.D. in Music Performance from the University of Adelaide and performs regularly with Australia’s finest ensembles.

Anthony Albrecht is an Australian graduate of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance program and enjoys an international career.

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