A Soundwalk is an immersive, musical audio tour that accompanies individuals as they walk along a specific path, and that changes with their location. This Soundwalk is directed and produced by next-generation young musicians from the Empire State Youth Orchestra's Young Leader Program, with a goal to bring peace to the community by sharing music during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The music in this Soundwalk, composed by young musicians and professional music artists, is created with a focus on the beauty of nature. This classical music, nature-inspired audio tour will premiere in Albany’s Washington Park on Memorial Day Weekend-May 30, 2021.
Emma Edgar was inspired by Ellen Reid’s Soundwalk held at SPAC last fall; the Soundwalk is a great, safe way to share music even through a pandemic-COVID-19. It is a way to bring peace to people’s hearts even during this wave of trouble and change. The Soundwalk allows walkers to experience the beauty of nature, history, and music.
“I hope this project inspires fellow young people to add vibrance to their community. I hope it will inspire older generations to see what my age is capable of. I also hope it inspires all to look attentively at the small things that often go unnoticed, especially during the time of COVID, and to offer a reprieve from unwelcome, looming worry that accompanies us during this pandemic.”
Soundwalk Project Lead
I am a clarinetist in the Repertory Romantic Orchestra and I have been in ESYO for 3 years. Currently, I am a senior at Bethlehem Central High School near Albany NY, and will be graduating in June! In addition to practicing and rehearsing awesome pieces for ESYO and my school band, two of my favorite extracurricular activities are ballroom dancing and leading my school’s VEX robotics competition team, both of which I have been doing since 9th grade. I am so excited to share Soundwalk with everyone in the Capital Region and I hope you enjoy it!
Hi! I am currently a junior at Colonie Central High School. I play the violin in the ESYO Symphony Orchestra! I honestly enjoy listening to any type of music but if I had to choose, ballad songs. Some fun facts about me are that I play tennis, sing at my church, and my favorite colors are red and yellow.
I am a Sophomore at Shenendehowa High School. Majoring in viola, I joined the Empire State Youth Orchestra in 2017 under the Repertory Ensemble and I moved to the Symphony Orchestra the following year. I enjoy Romantic Classical Music-especially ones that are big, loud, crashy, and emotional. In my spare time, I like to play boardgames, trading card games, video games, and if stumbling across a good novel, read.
Hi, my name is Meghana! I’m a junior at Guilderland High School and play the violin in ESYO’s Repertory Strings Orchestra. My favorite type of music is alternative/indie pop. A fun fact about me is that I play tennis and routinely volunteer for the Red Cross! I joined this Soundwalk project because of my excitement towards technology’s ability to transform how people experience music. Walking through a park while listening to sounds that capture your surroundings is both relaxing and engaging. I feel so honored to be able to work on this project to showcase our talented ESYO composers and musicians as well as Albany’s unique landscapes and history.
Michael D. Blostein has taught orchestra in Averill Park High School for the last 21 years, as well as band since 2012. In addition to his teaching duties, he serves as co-conductor of the Delmar Community Orchestra, runs sectionals for ESYO, is an active low brass performer and maintains a private studio. His education includes a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a Master's degree in Composition from the University of Arizona. Further studies have been undertaken at Villanova University (through the University of the Arts), as well as The Juilliard School and UMass Amhearst. He has been included as a contributing writer in the All-Music Guide and the All-Music Guide to Classical Music, has works performed throughout the country, and has music listed on college audition repertoire lists and the NYSSMA manual, among others
Brett L. Wery is an active composer/arranger in the Capital Region area of upstate New York. For twenty-five years he taught theory, conducting, and applied woodwind studies at the State University of New York, Schenectady County Community College where he also directed the college wind ensemble. As a professor at SUNY Schenectady, Wery has been the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, and the SCCC Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching. Wery later served as dean of the School of Music at SUNY Schenectady before retiring from academia to pursue composition full time. He is also the Music Director/Conductor of the Capital Region Wind Ensemble in Schenectady, NY—a group of professional musicians that has premiered many of Wery’s works for wind ensemble and band.
An award winning member of ASCAP and SCI, Wery’s compositions have been performed and recorded around the world and include Sonata for Guitar Quartet, Dance Variations for Woodwind Quintet, Oot-kwa-tah for chamber orchestra, Four World Variants for Clarinet Quartet, and Sonata for Multiple Woodwinds and Piano. In addition to composing and conducting, Wery is an active woodwind doubler—performing on flute, clarinet, and saxophone.
Mr. Wery received his bachelor’s degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts and his Master’s Degree at the University of Denver.
Jason Handron (b.1995) is a composer and bassist from Albany, NY.
He has been featured as both a composer and performer at events such as the 2017 soundSCAPE Festival (Maccagno, Italy) and the 2018 New Music Gathering (Boston, MA). He is a co-founder and member of the chamber band Drive(J:), a flexible quartet specializing in unconventional performance.
Jason holds a B.M. in music composition from the State University of New York at Fredonia and an M.M. in music composition from Bowling Green State University. His primary teachers include Karl Boelter, Paul Coleman, Mikel Kuehn, and Marilyn Shrude.
Clare Criscione was a violinist in ESYO for 10 years. As a member of the Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2015, she often served as co-concertmaster and received first place in the organization’s Lois Lyman Concerto Competition in 2013. For her entire middle and high school years, Tuesday night was always ESYO night! Clare is also an alumnus of Harvard College, where she was a member of the Brattle Street Chamber Players and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. As a senior at Harvard, Clare took her first class in composition and had the privilege of having several original works performed by the Parker Quartet. Alongside her music endeavors, Clare was deeply involved in education and service at Harvard while completing pre-med requirements. Clare plans to begin medical school this summer and knows music will remain a huge part of her life as she continues to advocate for music education and write her own works.
Matthew Kenyon, age 16. Scotia-Glenville High School. I play viola, alto sax, and keyboard. I’m currently part of ESYO’s Repertory Orchestra. My love for music started when I was 3 and my great-grandfather played the harmonica at a family gathering. I loved it so much that he bought me a toy harmonica to play and I would play for him on his birthday. I want to be a composer and a performer. You can check out my YouTube channel here.
William Lauricella is a 15 year old pianist, percussionist and composer with the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s Symphony Orchestra and Youth Percussion Ensemble. Being a member of ESYO the past 4 years has helped William grow as a musician and person by allowing him to work with outstanding conductors and musicians.
In 2020, William won first place in the ESYO Lois Lyman Concerto Competition. In July of 2019, William won the Luzerne Music Center Concerto Competition. William placed second in the 2019 Leschetizky International Concerto Competition and the 2019 CDCYM Chopin Competition. William was featured as the WMHT Classical Student of the month in June of 2019. In 2018, William won first place in the Schenectady Symphony Louise DeFeo Parillo Concerto Competition and the Tchaikovsky Music Competition at the New Russia Cultural Center.
Ralph Vaughan Williams, 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over sixty years. Strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.
Monica Wilson-Roach has been playing cello and bass for over thirty-five years. She was on faculty at the Juilliard School and has performed in the Texaco New York Jazz Festival, the Documenta X in Kessel, Germany, the Jazz and Bluesfest – Live from Wolftrap, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music performances of Donald Byrd's Jazztrain with Grammy Award winning artist, Vernon Reid. She has also written and recorded string arrangements for films including "Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners", "The Main", and "Though A Lens Darkly", featured at Sundance and recipient of the NAACP award. Ms. Wilson-Roach was a featured speaker on the WMHT program "WMHT Talks Education Special" in addition to her band, TEN27, performing pieces from their multimedia concert “The Black Book Project” live on the show. Most recently, she was commissioned to compose a three (3) movement
piece for The Northeast Ballet Company’s new dance suite “The Beach”. Monica has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Knitting Factory, Merkin Hall, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center out-of-doors, and The Egg at the Center for the Performing Arts. Currently, she conducts the Empire State Youth Orchestra CHIME in School educational outreach program, TuttiCelli cello choirs, and the Macedonia Chamber Orchestra. In addition to recording on over 25 CD’s for various artists, she has also performed with the Lawrence Butch Morris Conduction Project, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra.
Aaron Houston (b. 1991) composes music that lives where the energetic soul of rock, folk music, and more collides with his classical training in unexpected ways to create what Ellen Taaffe Zwilich has labeled a “strong voice in composition” and reviews have said “[feels] alive and tangible to the audience” (Emily McCarthy, Tallahassee Democrat).
Upcoming projects include a new work for brass quintet commissioned by a consortium of ensembles including Baylor Brass, Braeburn Brass, and Big Bend Brass; a composition for solo bassoon commissioned by Ryan Reynolds of Akropolis Reed Quintet and a consortium of 12 performers to explore and exhibit the variety of personalities and characteristics available to the bassoon and its performers; and a forthcoming work for percussion ensemble written in collaboration with Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas. His recent work, Midway to Midtown, merges the influences of Texas Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan with “brilliant orchestration” (George Tsontakis) and was premiered by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by the idea of storytelling, this work blends Aaron's background as a Texas Blues guitarist with a developed craft and contrapuntal writing. Other recent projects include Katabasis − a virtuosic work for solo cello commissioned by Holden Bitner as a descent into the wild, natural landscape of Florida; Americana Soul − a work for unaccompanied viola featuring the sounds of American folk music that was premiered by Brian Bires as an encore with the Gewandhaus Akademisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany; and Along Fault Lines − commissioned by Jillian Storey for flute and live electronics, this work serves as a response to the growing violence and divide in America during 2020 that came to the forefront due to a global pandemic and the untimely deaths of George Floyd and many others at the hands of police.
Musicians of Ma’alwyck is a flexible-size chamber ensemble in residence at the Schuyler Mansion New York State Historic Site and Schenectady County Community College. Founded in 1999 by violinist and director Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, the group specializes in music performed in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of the performing materials are drawn from the Special Collections of the New York State Library. In 2002, Musicians of Ma’alwyck performed by invitation for television producer Norman Lear in celebration of his purchase of the last private copy of the Declaration of Independence. Musicians of Ma’alwyck has been presented on National Public Radio, WMHT-FM and WMHT-TV. In 2009 the ensemble produced the 1783 opera The Poor Soldier by William Shield, drawing national attention. Musicians of Ma’alwyck was named the best chamber music ensemble of the Capital Region for both 2008 and 2009 by Metroland. In the spring of 2019 and 2020 Musicians of Ma’alwyck was nominated for an Eddie Regional Music Award.