martin quiroga jr.

Riverside Chamber Symphony preview: River lullaby and seasonal abstracts

Community orchestra premieres new works by Oregon composers influenced by Oregon seasons and North American indigenous cultures


Editor’s note: Part of this preview originally appeared last month, when Rall’s piece was scheduled to be performed at the Riverside Chamber Symphony’s December concert at Wildish Theatre. That performance was rescheduled due to weather, so we’re reposting it now, and with additional news: The RCS will perform another nature-influenced work by another  member of the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance’s Oregon Composers Forum, Martin Quiroga, Jr. at its March concert. More information on that piece follows.

Oregon composer Justin Ralls has dedicated his newly composed chamber orchestral work, Water is Life, to the Standing Rock Lakota, who are engaged in an on-going effort to protect the tribe’s sacred lands and water supply from possible contamination by spills from an oil pipeline now under construction near their reservation.

Water is Life was inspired by the same values and indigenous American traditions as those expressed at Standing Rock. The new one-movement, 10-minute “river lullabye,” as conductor Philip Bayles calls it, receives its world premiere on February 3 by the Eugene/Springfield-based Riverside Chamber Symphony.

Riverside Chamber Symphony, conducted by Philip Bayles. Photo: Philip Bayles.

“It is an incredibly personal work,” Ralls says, “created from a spirit of healing, resilience, and solidarity” with the Lakota, who have been at the forefront of his thoughts since their Dakota Access Pipeline efforts began.


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