South Dakota Symphony, the Lakota Music Project, and community engagement

Posted on: April 4, 2018

In the Spring 2018 Humanities magazine, David Skinner writes about the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Lakota Music Project, and Joseph Horowitz’s Music Unwound program at the orchestra. “The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is ‘in some ways the most innovative orchestra in the United States,’ says Horowitz…. In 2003, the orchestra hired a new conductor and music director … Delta David Gier…. Gier … believes an orchestra should belong to the whole community…. [He realized] that the community that really needed reaching out to … was Native Americans. So began the Lakota Music Project…. In the next four years, Gier accompanied [tribal affairs consultant Barry] LeBeau to meetings across the state.… ‘That’s when I realized this whole engagement thing was about listening,’ says Gier, ‘not building programs that I thought would be helpful.’ [In 2009] the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra performed with Native-American musicians on three reservations and in two other South Dakota communities. The collaborative program included original compositions by Native and non-Native composers, presented in a historically informed context…. In 2016, the Lakota Music Project worked with Horowitz’s Music Unwound program [which] used imagery to draw out … connections between Longfellow’s ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ and Dvořák’s Largo from the New World Symphony.”

Posted April 4, 2018