Music of the Earth Festival


Audiences in need of a midwinter reprieve can immerse themselves in spectacular orchestral performances, breathtaking views of the Alps, yoga, and other spiritual and environmental programs at the ISO's Music of the Earth Festival January 7–22. 

Music Director Krzysztof Urbański presents a mid-winter festival of musical masterworks inspired by the majesty of our planet. Strauss’ epic Alpine Symphony takes you to the very summit, bathing the listener in sonic sunlight. Mahler’s serene “The Song of the Earth,” drawn from delicate lines of Chinese poetry, is the first of his great farewells: music as life giving, life sustaining, life loving as the Earth itself.

In addition to the concerts at Hilbert Circle Theatre, Music of the Earth Festival will present programs and performances at the Circle City Industrial Complex, Indy Reads Books, Eskenazi Hospital, The Center for the Performing Arts, and Marian University. 

Festival Lineup

ISO Chamber Players at Indy Winter Farmers Market

Saturday, January 7, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Circle City Industrial Complex

Buy local, healthy food while feeding your soul at Indy Winter Farmers Market with music provided by ISO players at one of Indy’s newest downtown venues, the Circle City Industrial Complex near Mass Ave and 10th St.

Yoga with the ISO

Monday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 14 at 10:00 a.m.
Hilbert Circle Theatre (Wood Room)

The ISO’s principal flute Karen Evans Moratz and yoga instructor Laura Potter will lead two yoga classes like no other—accompanied by live orchestral music! Participants should bring a mat and will receive a buy-one-get-one Music of the Earth concert voucher.

From Concerts to countries: Exploring the Earth in Stories and PIctures

Tuesday, January 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Indy Read Books

ISO musicians will join former ISO staff member Margaret Henney to talk about their travels across the globe. Whether camping in tents or staying at hostels, traveling to Canada or venturing to Vietnam, these travelers have great stories to share! The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Drinks and snacks will be provided. 


Friday, January 13 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Music Director Krzysztof Urbański begins the first of the Music of the Earth Festival concerts with Copland’s Appalachian Spring. What follows will be, by far, the biggest piece the ISO will play this season. The hour-long performance of R. Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony requires approximately 120 musicians on stage. With images by Tobias Melle of the Alps as a backdrop, this epic performance will take audiences on a musical journey representing the emotional highs and strain of an 11-hour mountain adventure from daybreak to nightfall. 

Pre-Concert Activities
  • One hour before the evening concerts on Friday and Saturday, award-winning author of 20 fiction and non-fiction books Scott Russell Sanders will speak about how we too easily take for granted the natural wealth that sustains us—the soils and waters, the forests and prairies, the benign climate, and all our fellow creatures. 
  • The Bloomington, Ind. resident and distinguished professor emeritus of English at Indiana University recently published a collection of his eco-science fiction stories, “Dancing in Dreamtime.” Many of his books will be available to purchase. 
  • Growing Places Indy—a nonprofit that empowers personal, family, and community wellness through urban agriculture, access to food, and mind-body education—will be on site during the performances, as will Sun King Brewery, Purdue University’s Discovery Park Center for Global Soundscape, and a display highlighting Marian University’s Jensen gardens.

Special Performance: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons

Monday, January 16 at 12:00 p.m.
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Concourse | Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital

Join members of the ISO for a special, intimate performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, four violin concertos that take listeners on a poetic journey through each season of the year.


Beyond words: Music of the Earth with ISO ASsociate Conductor Vince Lee

Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Marian University Theatre at Marian Hall

Maestro Vince Lee shares how a person’s struggle to align his vision of earthly beauty with his faith and sense of mortality can result in one of his greatest artistic achievements. The unique ability of music to represent humanity’s complex physical and spiritual relationship to our planet will be illuminated through discussion and live musical performances from Gustav Mahler’s “The Song of the Earth.”



Friday, January 20 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Richter | Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons
Mahler | Das Lied von der Erde

The ISO is joined by Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, American tenor Paul Groves, and soloist Alexi Kenney in a moving performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Maestro Urbański. Drawn from delicate lines of Chinese poetry, Mahler’s serene "The Song of the Earth" is the first of his great farewells: music as life giving, life sustaining, and life loving as the Earth itself. The concert begins with a fresh take on Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as recomposed by Max Richter for violin, harpsichord and orchestra.


Pre-Concert Activities
  • A new, three-year initiative of Ball State University Emerging Media, Remix the Symphony will challenge preconceived notions about classical music through interactive experiences in the Hilbert Circle Theatre lobby during evening performances. 
  • Students from Purdue University also will present interactive activities that support the discovery and preservation of Earth’s natural acoustic heritage with the Discovery Park Center for Global Soundscape exhibit. 
  • An hour prior to performances on Friday and Saturday evening, Dr. Jim Larner, Professor of Music and Humanities at Marian University, will give a special presentation, “Going Gently into that Good Night,” that explores how the death of his beloved daughter and own heart ailment led Mahler to confront his grief and mortality in “The Song of the Earth.” 

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