Hawaiʻi Symphony to premiere new educational symphony

In Composition, Department News by General Entries

The Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra is set to perform Symphony of the Hawai’i Forests at the Hawai’i Theatre Center on April 20th and 21st. The concert will be exclusively for 4th through 12th-grade students, and will feature six movements of new music written by local composers accompanied by original animations by local animators, a hula presentation, and a collection of artworks submitted by local elementary through high school students via an art contest. The Symphony of the Hawai’i Forests is a sequel to the Symphony of Hawaiian Birds, which was launched in 2018.

This new multimedia project is a collaboration between a number of community organizations and individuals from Honolulu and beyond. The project, first conceived in 2019 and developed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, was coordinated by Takuma Itoh, a University of Hawai’i at Mānoa faculty, and Heather McMillen, the Hawai’i State Urban Forester. The animation coordinator was Laura Margulies, a faculty member with the Academy of Creative Media. The concert will be conducted by Jeffrey Boeckman, the Director of Bands at the University of Hawai’i. Throughout the Covid pandemic, stories (ka’ao) were created with members of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa via Zoom.

In preparation for the concert, the Mālama Learning Center has been compiling resources for teachers to use in the classroom. UH Music Education students have also been going into local schools to teach the hula that will be performed during the concert. With support from the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra Fund for Education and Community Engagement, Hawai‘i Theatre’s Partners in Arts Program, U.S. Forest Service, Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and DOFAW, performances are free of charge for all students, teachers, and chaperones.

Of the project, Dr. Itoh said, “It’s exciting, as a composer, to work with so many members of the community from so many areas, and to know that thousands of kids from all over the island will come and experience an orchestra, many for the first time. The collaborative experience is something I cherish, and it feels very meaningful to be able to give back to my community with an artistic project like this.”

Overall, the Symphony of the Hawai’i Forests promises to be an exciting and educational experience for local students, featuring original music, animation, and artwork from local artists, and celebrating the natural beauty of the Hawaiian forests.

For more information, please visit: https://symphonyofthehawaiiforests.com/