Pro Musica Joplin Presents American Wild Ensemble in State Bicentennial Program

(Joplin, MO)Pro Musica will present the American Wild Ensemble in a free, outdoor concert of contemporary classical chamber music reflecting on the Missouri Bicentennial. This “Missouri Music at 200” program features new music and poetry by composers and writers connected to the state. The concert will take place on Thursday, August 5 at 7:00 pm, outdoors at Wildcat Glades Park in Joplin. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets to enjoy the performance at the picnic pavilion overlooking Shoal Creek.

To mark the August 10, 2021, Missouri Bicentennial, American Wild Ensemble commissioned and assembled a set of six composers and three poets to reflect on the state’s history and honor its broad cultural traditions as part of a statewide tour of outdoor performances in Joplin, St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, and Gray Summit. The program includes musical contributions by Marcus Lewis, Ingrid Stölzel, Stefan Freund, Barbara Harbach, Michael Murray, and Chris Stark, and poetry by Karen Craigo, Glenn North, and Alice Azure.

Formed in 2016 with a commissioning project inspired by American national parks, the American Wild Ensemble celebrates American places, historic figures, and events by commissioning new works and performing them in site-inspired and site-specific locations. They have received support from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America for performances in both traditional and nontraditional venues across the country.

The group is led by flutist Emlyn Johnson and cellist Daniel Ketter, who are both faculty members at Missouri State University in Springfield. It also includes Hanna Hurwitz, violin; Ryan Hardcastle, viola; Tiffany Valvo, clarinet; Joel Ockerman, horn; and Colleen Bernstein, percussion. Johnson is also the acting Interim Executive Director of Pro Musica. Her work with American Wild Ensemble is what first introduced her to the organization, under the leadership of previous Pro Musica director Jay Gilman.

Pro Musica looks forward to bringing this Missouri-inspired program to Joplin audiences in collaboration with the Wildcat Glades Friends Group. Wildcat Glades preserves an area of chert glades, a habitat unique to Southern Missouri. Audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy new contemporary classical chamber music inspired by Missouri history and heritage, performed in a lovely outdoor setting.

“We are excited to connect our Missouri program with Missouri audiences, especially in the beautiful setting of Wildcat Glades,” says Pro Musica and American Wild Ensemble director Johnson. “We have crafted this program to both reflect on the history of the state and showcase the creative contributions of composers living and working in Missouri today.”

“Missouri Music at 200” is a part of Missouri 2021, an initiative of the State Historical Society of Missouri and its Center for Missouri Studies, and is supported in part by Missouri State University in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About American Wild Ensemble:

The Music in the American Wild initiative began in 2016 with a commissioning project inspired by and performance tour of American national parks, in honor of the National Park Service centennial. Since those initial tours performing in unconventional venues, from caves to mountaintops, the American Wild Ensemble has continued to celebrate American places, historic figures, and events by commissioning new works and performing them in site-inspired and site-specific locations. Since 2016 AWE has commissioned over 30 new works for 2-7 performers, with the support of organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and Mid-America Arts Alliance, for performances in both traditional and nontraditional venues across the country. Collaborative projects have taken the group from the lava fields of Hawaii’s Big Island, to Washington’s ancient Hoh Rainforest, to the site of the first suffragette convention in New York’s Seneca Falls. The ensemble emphasizes audience engagement through the project development and performance process, aiming to offer a cohesive experience that connects listeners to the spaces around them through music designed with those spaces in mind.

Ensemble directors Emlyn Johnson (flute) and Daniel Ketter (cello) are both on faculty in the music department at Missouri State University. Emlyn is also the current Interim Executive Director of Pro Musica.

About Pro Musica:

Founded in 1981, Pro Musica is the leading presenter of world-class chamber, classical, and jazz music in Joplin, Missouri and the surrounding Four State region.

Pro Musica uplifts “ageless music for all ages” through free tickets to Chamber Series concerts; cornerstone Arts Education Events with Joplin Public Schools, private schools, homeschool networks, and Missouri Southern State University; provides innovative frameworks for experiencing classical chamber music including coffee shop and library-based family concerts; outdoor events; an annual jazz concert; and more.

Pro Musica is supported by the generosity of numerous individuals, business and corporate sponsors, family and private foundations, and the Missouri Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.


Emlyn Johnson, Interim Executive Director
Pro Musica Joplin

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