Brooke Joyce

Sacred Trees was inspired by several trips to the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, a park that contains the remnants of several large Native American burial mounds, some of which are shaped like birds and animals. My experiences there led me to reflect on my own sense of ritual, memory and spirituality. As I was composing this music, I decided to focus my reflections not on the mounds or the people who built them but rather on the various and ancient trees that grow in the area. Trees are thought to be sacred in many faith traditions, and to me, they are a kind of silent witness to the passage of time and the people who come and go under their gaze. [B.J.]

Born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Brooke Joyce holds degrees in theory and composition from Princeton University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Lawrence University. He has attended summer courses with Joan Tower and Magnus Lindberg, and in 1997, he traveled to Wales on a Kittredge Educational Grant to study with Alun Hoddinott. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Indianapolis Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Relache Ensemble, the Brentano Quartet, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Nash Ensemble, and the Verdehr Trio. In addition to his concert music, Brooke has collaborated on several musical theater works with playwright Frederick Gaines, including Unbekannt, a musical based on the life of the famous Anastasia pretender Anna Anderson, and An Imaginary Line, based on the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Brooke is the recipient of the Joseph Bearns Prize, the Wayne Peterson Prize, the Darius Milhaud Award, and many citations from the National Federation of Music Clubs and ASCAP. Brooke teaches theory, history and composition at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and is a faculty member at The Walden School, a summer music festival for young composers in New Hampshire.

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