Premiered in 2019 as a staged production at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, the work, The Clearing and the Forest, was written by composer Scott Ordway.
“In 2018, like many others, I watched the forced separation of small children from their families at the US border with horror,” Ordway explains, “and I was immediately moved to create a work through which I could boldly, plainly, and publicly affirm my support for the rights of refugees as well as our sacred, ancient, and transcultural obligation to provide shelter to those who seek it. In this piece, I sought to forcefully and unequivocally articulate my own views on a subject which continues to divide our society.”
At its premiere, with costume and scenic design by Erica Eliot, all aspects of the production held symbolic meaning to the work. Installation pieces were used to contribute to the theatrical work, including foraged flowers, trees, and fruit.
Since 1994, the SOLI Chamber Orchestra is known for its performances of 20th and 21st-century contemporary chamber music. Through concerts and educational activities, their aim is to champion the music of living composers. Winner of the 2013 Chamber Music America and ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, plus the 2020 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant, SOLI has premiered and commissioned pieces by the likes of Shulamit Ran, Clarice Assad, D. J. Sparr, Kinan Azmeh, Darian Donovan Thomas, Reena Esmail, Armando Bayolo, Pierre Jalbert, and Steven Mackey.
"In a world where we live with the comfort of both time and safety, The Clearing and the Forest immediately resonated with us," SOLI Artistic Director Stephanie Key. "We often forget that we are fluid, ever-changing, and not in charge of our future. It took a pandemic to bring that starkly home for us. Scott has captured the essence of movement, of change, of loss and separation, of new hope and becoming — all in a single piece."
To listen to and purchase the album, click here.