Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Launches Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK

Erick Hoffman | Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Art & Culture

An Immersive Installation That Brings Together Music, Nature, and Technology

On April 6, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts launched Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, a GPS-enabled work of public art in Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts that uses music to heighten experiences in the natural environment. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid, and co-commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing ArtsEllen Reid SOUNDWALK is an immersive experience that brings together music, nature and technology in celebration of Wolf Trap National Park. The installation runs through Sept. 6, is free to the public and can be experienced while following social distancing guidelines.

“As winter melts into spring, I find myself at long last filled with optimism. Re-framing parks musically has been a wonderful challenge, and Wolf Trap is a perfect setting for this piece,” said SOUNDWALK composer Ellen Reid. “My goal is to create a new set of circumstances-the opportunity to visit a new setting, or to perceive the familiar in a new way. I hope people visit multiple times throughout the year; just as the season or time of day affects our perception of our surroundings, music can also create a new frame of experience. I’m honored that SOUNDWALK will help to welcome audiences back to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts after such a long and painful absence of music.”

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK was co-commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation as a way for patrons to return to the Park for their first musical experience in over a year,” said Arvind Manocha, President and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we wanted to give our community a special opportunity to experience the beauty of music and nature in a safe and socially-distanced manner and to re-engage with Wolf Trap as we, with the National Park Service, celebrate the coming of summer.”

Tailor-made for its natural Northern Virginia setting, Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK features a newly-written score specifically composed for Wolf Trap National Park, performed by SOUNDWALK Ensemble, as well as special musical “Easter eggs” hidden at specific landmarks around the Park for participants to discover.

After downloading the free app and putting on headphones, participants embark on a mile-long route of trails around Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, traversing the Meadow, through the woods and across Wolf Trap Run creek. Movement around the Park triggers Reid’s soundscape—musical cells, which she carefully crafted to harmonize with the Park’s landscape. The experience is guided by the listener: the pace and path that each person chooses dictates the music they hear, ensuring that no two visits are exactly the same.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK was co-commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the New York Philharmonic, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in association with The Fairmount Park Conservancy and Britt Festival Orchestra.

The project was made possible in part by the support of Wellcome’s international program Mindscapes, a cultural exploration of mental health.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is presented by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in partnership with the National Park Service and Visit Fairfax. Additional local funding for this project is provided to Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts by the Virginia Tourism Commission.

Pictured at top: Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK by Erin Baiano

About the Composer

Ellen Reid is one of the most innovative artists of her generation. A composer and sound artist whose breadth of work spans opera, sound design, film scoring, ensemble and choral writing, she was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, p r i s m. Along with composer Missy Mazzoli, Reid co-founded the Luna Composition Lab. Luna Lab is a mentorship program for young, female-identifying, non-binary and gender non-conforming composers. Since 2019, she has served as Creative Advisor and Composer-in-Residence for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Reid received her BFA from Columbia University and her MA from California Institute of the Arts. She is inspired by music from all over the globe, and she splits her time between her two favorite cities—Los Angeles and New York. Her music is released on Decca Gold.

About Wolf Trap Foundation

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding professional training programs for early career opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.