Composer Brad Balliett’s tree-inspired “Arboretum,” in S.C. national park

Posted on: April 9, 2021

Arboretum is a work of music inspired by trees—and for the nature-loving bassoonist who wrote it,” writes Bradley Fuller in Wednesday’s (4/7) South Carolina Public Radio. “The bassoon ‘looks a little bit like a tree; it’s made of this nice maple wood,’ ” composer and bassoonist Brad Balliett says. “Balliett’s Arboretum is comprised of multiple bassoon solos played simultaneously—each inspired by … ‘a specific species of tree… There is the sweetgum tree which I find to be a very elegant tree with its star-shaped leaves. So I tried to make the music elegant and flowing. And the tulip poplar is a massive, imposing tree, so I wrote that for the contrabassoon.’ For the upcoming performance of Arboretum at South Carolina’s Congaree National Park on Saturday, April 10th, each bassoonist will play … underneath the branches of the particular tree that inspired their solo…. The performers will be able to keep their parts synchronized. ‘The piece is constructed with the players using stopwatches … so that all the pieces will work together and create harmony amongst the pieces…. Hopefully, for both audience and musicians, they come out with a new appreciation for the trees …,’ Balliett says.”