Scrag Mountain

Composer Eve Beglarian

BRANDON and MONTPELIER — New Music on The Point and Scrag Mountain Music are joining forces to create “A Murmur in the Trees,” an immersive concert experience performed in nature. The concerts will feature works inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.

The performances feature the world premiere of a new work for 24 double basses by renowned composer Eve Beglarian, created in collaboration with bassist Robert Black and composer/programmer Matt Sargent. Also on the program is the world premiere of a new song setting of Dickinson’s poem by Evan Premo for soprano and two basses and a reading by poet and Middlebury College professor Karin Gottshall.

The concerts, held outdoors within Vermont’s lush landscape, encourage listeners to walk around and explore the music freely: at 5 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Fuller’s allée, 82 Park St. Extension in Brandon; and at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12 at Hubbard Park’s New Shelter, 400 Parkway St. in Montpelier.

Of this project, New York City and Brandon-based composer Beglarian says, “I keep thinking about how Emily Dickinson wrote her curious poem ‘A Murmur in the Trees’ in the midst of the Civil War, just as we today are living through complex times. The piece aims to create a space in which art and nature are in a relationship that deeply rewards taking time and paying attention, time and attention that can’t help but reinforce reverence for the natural world.”

“A Murmur in the Trees” for 24 basses treats a piece of birch bark as a musical score, where the lines on the birch bark are notes that are read at the rate of one-third inch per minute, which is said to be the speed at which plant signals travel.

Black, bassist and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, will lead a group of bass players ranging from professionals to local middle-school students in this half-hour staged piece that will allow the listeners to move as they choose in the environment, creating their own unique experience of the piece and the place.

Beglarian adds, “None of us has ever heard 24 playing a birch bark score in a grove of trees, and we’re thinking it might be kind of amazing. Encountering the sight and sound of basses in the woods helps us remember that much of the bass’ beauty as an instrument relies on its past life as a tree. The trees and the basses must have something compelling to say to one another, and I can’t wait to listen in on their conversation.”

Beglarian’s piece is paired with the world premiere of a song setting of the same poem by Premo, a Vermont composer/bassist and Scrag Mountain Music co-artistic director, performed by Premo, Robert Black, and soprano and Scrag co-Artistic Director Mary Bonhag.

The Brandon performance will also include walking tours of the town led by the Brandon Historical Society.

Tickets for the event are free with pre-registration recommended. For details, go online to

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