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Artpark & Company presents Juneteenth: From the Past to the Living Present With Rhiannon Giddens, featuring Yo-Yo Ma

June 19, 2021 - June 30, 2021

Artpark & Company presents Juneteenth: From the Past to the Living Present with Rhiannon Giddens featuring Yo-Yo Ma as part of the outdoor season of the SONIC TRAILS festival curated and co-produced by Sozo Creative, from May 15 – September 30, 2021. With a hyper-local and equally global perspective, Sozo Creative and Artpark have brought together some of the most influential BIPOC voices in music – the Holladay Brothers, Kronos Quartet, Indigenous artists curated by Michele-Elise Burnett, and DJ Spooky – to cultivate aural experiences exploring the unique geological and historic site of the Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park located on Niagara Gorge located just seven miles from the Niagara Falls.

Launching on June 19, Grammy Award-winning musician, historian and Silkroad Ensemble Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, in collaboration with celebrated Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, will debut Juneteenth: From The Past To The Living Present. Weaving banjo, folk music, and storytelling, this guided walk centers the profound contributions of African Americans on American culture, music and history, seeking to imagine a society of inclusion, connection, empathy and justice.

Throughout the summer, audiences will have the opportunity to explore Artpark to the accompaniment of a variety of artistic worlds for free, right in their own pockets – an immersive choose-your-own-adventure. To make reservations or for further information, visit artpark.net/sonic-trails.

Cover the Water
Launched May 15, 2021
The Holladay Brothers, composers and multimedia artists, are pioneers of location-aware experiences: they create and map music to a physical landscape, released as mobile apps, using GPS to dynamically alter the music as the listener explores their surroundings. They will kick off SONIC TRAILS on May 15 with a reprisal of Cover The Water, an original music composition by The Holladay Brothers birthed out of the pandemic limitations and during their artistic residency at Artpark in 2020. The initial project evolved into a larger collaboration between The Holladay Brothers, Sozo and Artpark, who have partnered with the dynamic and inclusive group of artists to bring their compositions to life through the custom app. 

Her Moccasins Talk: Honoring all our Relations
Launched May 15, 2021
Beginning May 15, Her Moccasins Talk: Honoring all our Relations is an Indigenous journey exploring the Natural World with gratitude, based on the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. Curated by Indigenous bridge builder Michele-Elise Burnett, along with local First Nations Knowledge Keepers, Storytellers, and singers who will take visitors through a mindful journey led by a nurturing matriarch voice, songs, sounds and effects based on giving thanks to all our relations. Along the path, our older and wiser relatives will share teachings, Indigenous Consciousness and ways of knowing which emerges from a space within us that is informed and governed by our natural relationship with creation, they will experience the landscape from an Indigenous lens and embrace being one with the Natural World. The path along the Mighty Niagara will help guests to look inward, facing oneself, and using this time to reflect, think analytically and critically, and with the key goal of ensuring balance and harmony with all living things.

Later in midsummer on July 3, Paul Miller AKA DJ Spooky brings his unforgettable transcendental sound to Artpark trails with a high energy electronic music experience, premiering three news tracks for the park visitors to hear first. You can take these heart racing beats for a run or bike ride through Artpark to experience the trails in a whole new way.

The season closes with a collaboration with world-renowned Kronos Quartet and its series of global commissions, 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. Original compositions from select women composers will weave together to transport you worldwide through an intricate musical legacy of tradition and innovation. The experience focuses optimism, beauty and discovery to compose a global story of interconnectedness.

“This project perfectly brings together art, nature, culture, and technology. It opens up entirely new opportunities for park visitors to experience the constant nature transform with new sound; for artists to expand ways in which they can reach an audience directly from anywhere in the world; and for Artpark’s artistic program to expand to all seasons of the year,” said Sonia Kozlova Clark, Artpark President.

“As this project was conceived, it was intrinsically clear to cultivate space for the original and current stewards of the land, while centering voices of color. The highly collaborative approach to this experience is also posed to support an awakening to a greater ecological consciousness of interspecies relations at the center of these teachings, inspiring us all to imagine a meaningful transformation in the ethos of Indigenous education, artistic practices and the potent power of imagination,” said Chisa Yamaguchi (Creative Producer, Sozo Creative) 

“Spring awakens at Artpark and we have come together in this circle to celebrate and honor Mother Earth,” said Michele-Elise Burnett, Artpark’s Indigenous Arts Producer. “We are in a critical time right now with the impacts of the pandemic continuing to reveal themselves with environmental challenges. With our upcoming season, we aim to show Mother Earth our love and gratitude for all the life sustaining gifts she provides us.”

The project is funded by: M&T Bank Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Cullen Foundation, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, National Endowment on the Arts.

Through September 30, 2021

Launched May 15, 2021:
Her Moccasins Talk 
Semiah Smith, The Thanksgiving Address Song and Opening Address in Mohawk
Elder Jackie Labonte, The People Address, The Waters Address, The Trees Address, The Birds Address, The Four Winds Address, the Thunder-beings Address, The Sun Address, the Stars Address in Mohawk
Keeya Greene Dury, Mother Earth Address, The Animals Address, The Creator Address in Tuscarora
Makenzie-May Smith, The Fish Address, The Plant World Address in Tuscarora
Jordan Smith, Old Moccasins, Women’s Dance Song, Old Fish Dance, Shake the Bush Dance, Smoke Dance
Gary Parker, Friendship Dance, Rabbit Dance Song, Elm Flute Song, Cedar Flute, Original Gratitude Song, Round Dance Song for the Ancestors, Original Song
Strong Water Women, Love Song, Niibi Water Song by Grandmother Josephine, Snake Medicine by Val King, The Eagle Song gifted by Odemin Kwe Singers, Unity Stomp Dance, Cherokee Morning Song, Wensiiryo by Niiki Shawana, The Long Walk Song
Adrian Harjo, Drum and Jingle Song, Honor Song for the Natural World 
Josie Lavalle and Cherie Poirier Bernard, Believe Song, Balance Song, Health Healing Song
Quinna Hamby, Tuscarora Water Song, Grandmother Moon Address in Tuscarora 
Carin Jean White, Earth Song
Darryl Tomeh Tuscarora, Flute Bridge
Michele-Elise Burnett (spoken Address in English throughout)

Cover The Water is a new site-specific composition by multimedia artists and composers The Holladay Brothers. 

Launching June 19, 2021:
Juneteenth: From the Past to the Living Present
Rhiannon Giddens (featuring Yo-Yo Ma)
Build A House narrative
Text by Rhiannon Giddens and Silkroad
Narration by Rhiannon Giddens
Additional text and stories from Lewiston, NY by Carin Jean White

Launching July 3, 2021
Global Futures featuring works from 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire
Susie Ibarra, Pulsation
Hawa Kasse, Tegere Tulon (2018)
Aftab Darvishi, Daughters of Sol
Nicole Lizée, Darkness is Not Well Lit

The Invisible Hand
Paul Miller (DJ Spooky), Written on the Water, The Copernicus Complex, Dark Skies, Mr Hashtag 

ARTPARK is a park and a cultural institution located on the Niagara Gorge, USA. Established in 1974, Artpark is a collaboration between the New York State Parks and the cultural nonprofit institution Artpark & Company. 

As a National Historic Landmark, the picturesque 150 acre performing and visual arts park is located along the historic Niagara River Gorge on land rich in both Native American history, pioneer and early American history. Approximately 12,000 years ago the majestic Niagara Falls began to work its way upriver from this site to its current location. 

Artpark’s Mainstage theater opened in July of 1974 on land that was once the Lower Landing of the nine mile Niagara Portage that skirted the unnavigable Gorge and Falls. Designated as a National Historic Landmark (in 1998), Artpark includes several archeological sites, including a Hopewell Mound from one of the earliest Native American mound building cultures and the remnants of the much more recent Oak Hill Mansion. 

Artpark is National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat, & National Audubon Society birding site (along the Niagara River Corridor), Artpark is also a popular destination for hiking, picnics, and fishing. 

As a cultural institution, Artpark attracts over 150,000 audiences over the course of its’ summer season (June-August) and serves a population of approximately 1.2 million Western New Yorkers and over 1 million Canadian residents. Over the course of it 40-year history, over 2.5 million persons have attended musical and theater performances at Artpark. In addition to being widely regarded as one of the top rock music Amphitheater stages, under the artistic leadership of President Sonia Kozlova Clark, Artpark has presented a increasingly diverse program including major North American premiers by companies like the Plasticiens Volants (France) with their unique giant inflatable puppetry; the Brazilian modern dance sensation Bale de Rua mixing the traditions of capoeira and B-boy; music acts varying from Boy George to George Clinton and Thievery Corporation; the Native-American DJ duo A Tribe Called Red and Ukranian folk-punk band DakhaBrakha. A new Strawberry Moon Festival has been established in 2019 to celebrate the global influence of the indigenous arts. In 2016 Artpark has developed a unique Artpark Percussion Garden, a new place for sound and nature explorations with interactive installations created by collaboration of visual artists and musicians. Same year we launched a long-term initiative Artpark Laboratory under curatorship of Mary Miss and her City as Living Laboratory, focusing on the exploration of intersections of art, nature, science and technologies and creating awareness on the global climate change crisis. For more information, visit artpark.net.


Michele-Elise Burnett, Métis/Algonquin, Bear Clan, is President of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which educates, enlightens and entertains broad audiences through the promotion of Indigenous art and artists. Ms. Burnett is the co-founder of Landscape of Nations 360°, a unique Indigenous education and tourism initiative. She is Creator and Artistic Director of the Celebration of Nations and the Artistic Producer of Artpark’s Annual Strawberry Moon Festival, both of which provide a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of Indigenous peoples. Ms. Burnett has recently been part of multiple large and meaningful art installations and memorials in various capacities including: the Landscape of Nations Commemorative Memorial in Queenston Ont, the Curtain Call installation at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines Ont, the Native American Peace Garden at Artpark, and, launching this May, the Indigenous Site Reactive Audio Journey for Artpark’s trails.

Michele-Elise serves or has served on many Boards and committees where she provides the Inidgenous lens as a way to build stronger cross-cultural relations for a shared future. These include the Board of Trustees for Brock University, the Board of Ridley College, the Aboriginal Education Council (Co-Chair, Brock U), the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Board, the Indigenous Partnership Council for the Canada Games (Chair), and the Indigenous Health Conference 2020 (Co-Chair, University of Toronto). Ms. Burnett is a graduate of the Ryerson University School of Radio and Television Arts. She and her mother were the first Indigenous people in Canada to be granted private broadcasting licenses by the CRTC. Together, they owned and operated Spirit 91.7 FM, the most powerful radio signal in the Niagara Region. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Culture Arts Award from the GNCC Women in Niagara for her success and contributions to the community, and in 2020 was recognized as one of Welland Historical Muesum’s Notable People in their virtual tour.
A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Rhiannon Giddens is widely recognized as an accomplished singer, banjoist, and fiddle player. She co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an old-time string band that received a Grammy Award in 2010. Giddens herself has been Grammy nominated for her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, and for her T Bone Burnett-produced EP, Factory Girl. She also performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series, Nashville. In her continuous quest to excavate the past to reveal truths about our present, Giddens’ recent projects are steeped in history and bring attention to critical issues in our society. In 2019 she contributed to the album, Songs of Our Native Daughters, which tells stories of historic Black womanhood and survival. That same year, her collaboration with Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other, offered at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.
The Holladay Brothers
Brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay create innovative music experiences that celebrate the act of discovery. With a shared background in composition and music production, their projects span a range of fields and disciplines and frequently invite user interaction, blurring the lines between performer and participant. From sound and video installations to mobile apps, their expansive body of work represents an intricate blend of art and technology that reimagines how we interact with and experience sound. The Holladay Brothers have garnered critical acclaim as sound pioneers and multi-dimensional storytellers. The duo received early praise for their location-aware composition: music created and mapped to a physical landscape, released as mobile apps, using GPS to dynamically alter the music as the listener explores their surroundings. Their first production, “The National Mall,” a location-aware album mapped to the eponymous park in Washington, DC, was described by the Washington Post as “magical…like using GPS to navigate a dream” and was included in their list of the year’s top albums (a first for an app). They’ve since gone on to create similar works for New York’s Central Park, SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, and other sites around the world, partnering with groups like IBM and the US State Department in the process. As a Senior TED Fellow, Ryan spoke about the project at the annual TED Conference in a talk that has been viewed more than a million times.Hays and Ryan continue to break new ground with the latest iteration of their live show, which showcases an interplay of old and new, utilizing an array of antique lamps retrofitted with LED bulbs, networked and synchronized with the music to create a duet of light and sound. Last year, they created new commissions for Dolby’s headquarters, the Hirshhorn Museum of Art and Disney’s Magic Kingdom, among others. Their scoring and sound design work can be heard in television shows like ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and on podcasts such as Sincerely X, Constitutional and Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale. The Holladay Brothers have spoken at universities and institutions worldwide and have been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, BBC World Service, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, WIRED and Fast Company.
Kronos Quartet
For over 45 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet – David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) – has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts, releasing more than 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning over 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the prestigious Polar Music Prize, Avery Fisher Prize, and Edison Klassiek Oeuvreprijs for career achievement.
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, includingFranghiz Ali-Zadeh, Philip Glass, Nicole Lizée, Vladimir Martynov, Steve Reich, Aleksandra Vrebalov. Additional collaborators have included Sam Amidon, Asha Bhosle, Noam Chomsky, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Green, Zakir Hussain, múm, Trevor Paglen, Van Dyke Parks, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Tanya Tagaq, Trio Da Kali, Mahsa Vahdat, Tom Waits, Wu Man, Howard Zinn.
On tour for five months per year, Kronos appears in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings, including three Grammy-winning albums – Sun Rings (2019), composed by Terry Riley for string quartet, chorus and pre-recorded spacescapes, Landfall with Laurie Anderson (2018), and Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite featuring Dawn Upshaw (2003) – all released by longtime label Nonesuch Records. Among Kronos’ recent releases are Ladilikan (World Circuit Records) with Trio Da Kali, an ensemble of Malian griot musicians assembled by Aga Khan Music Initiative; Michael Gordon: Clouded Yellow (Cantaloupe), and Placeless (Kirkelig Kulturverksted) with Iranian vocalists Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat.
The nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home season performances, education programs, and the annual Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched 50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning—and distributing online for free—50 new works for string quartet composed by 25 women and 25 men.

Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky is a composer, multimedia artist and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. His written work has been published by The Village Voice, The Source, and Artforum, among others, and he is the Editor of Origin Magazine. Miller’s work has appeared in the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries. Miller’s award-winning book “Rhythm Science” was published by MIT Press 2004, and was followed by “Sound Unbound,” an anthology about electronic music and digital media, in 2008. “The Book of Ice”, an experiential visual and acoustic portrait of the Antarctic, was published in 2011 by Random House. Miller has collaborated with a vast array of recording artists, ranging from Metallica to Chuck D; Steve Reich to Yoko Ono. His large scale, multimedia performance pieces include “Rebirth of a Nation,” “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica,” which was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the Next Wave Festival 2009, and “Seoul Counterpoint”, written during his residency at Seoul Institute of the Arts in 2014. Miller was the first Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he premiered his work “A Civil War Symphony” in 2013. In 2014, Miller was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, an honor recognizing visionaries at the forefront of global problem solving. Recent projects include “Peace Symphony,” commissioned by UN Peace Boat, “Hidden Code,” a new planetarium show commissioned by Dartmouth College in collaboration with Museum of Science Boston, “Forest Symphony” commissioned by Oregon State University, the CD/DVD of “Rebirth of a Nation” on Cantaloupe Music, and the publication of his fourth book “The Imaginary App” from MIT Press. Miller is the 2018 recipient of the The Hewlett 50 Arts Commission Award which will support the creation of “QUANTOPIA: The Evolution of the Internet” a multimedia performance and an installation based on the history and evolution of the internet, which premiered at San Francisco’s YBCA in January 2019 to a sold out house. Latest album releases include “Phantom Dancehall” with premier reggae label VP Records and his first blockchain album “The Invisible Hand.”

Silkroad Ensemble
Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he recognized the historical Silk Road as a model for cultural collaboration – for the exchange of ideas, tradition, and innovation across borders. In a groundbreaking experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom: a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world. 
This initial gathering of artists was rooted in a simple, initial question: “What happens when strangers meet?” And thus Silkroad was born, as both a touring ensemble comprised of world-class musicians from all over the globe, and a social impact organization working to make a positive impact across borders through the arts.

Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad creates music that engages difference, sparking cultural collaboration and high quality arts education to help build a more hopeful and inclusive world. What does this look like?

The Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble — Silkroad thrills audiences worldwide with a collective of artists representing dozens of nationalities and artistic traditions, demonstrating how great beauty can emerge from great difference.

Creation of new music — Silkroad builds upon a musical language founded in difference and collaboration that draws on the rich tapestry of world traditions that make up our many-layered contemporary identities.

Social impact initiatives — Silkroad brings music, hope, and healing to underserved, culturally rich, urban, rural, indigenous, and refugee communities.

Educational partnerships — Silkroad uses the arts to ignite passions and foster education in students, teachers, and musicians through training workshops and residency programs in public schools, universities, prisons, and indigenous and refugee communities.

For more information, visit silkroad.org.

Sozo Creative
Sozo Creative believes in the role of artists as thought partners and catalysts for innovation. With art and technology, social impact and immersive arts as the three core creative tracks, their global portfolio spans the spectrum of film, digital content, educational residencies, live performances and site-reactive activations. Founded and led by women, their team of world class artists and producers partner with brands, arts institutions, creative agencies and civic entities, building artistic and cultural bridges through bold, perspective-changing projects, to invoke a vibrant, trusting and compassionate society. www.sozoartists.com

Chisa Yamaguchi, Creative Producer, Sozo Creative
Born into a multicultural family, Chisa (she/her) simultaneously celebrates her passion for tradition and innovation. Her desire to discover, collaborate, and deepen her empathy has taken her to 6 continents whether to grace historic theaters and stages as a professional dancer, or to embark on community service projects and family pilgrimages. Driven by an intuitive sense of nurturing and a zealous need to contribute joy to the world, she enthusiastically advocates for cross-disciplinary practices as the means to dissolve perceived barriers in society. She is focused on aligning her personal power with her professional values, bringing her caring presence and discipline to everything she undertakes and creates. Mindful to balance her psyche with fire and nectar, she nourishes herself with yoga, trail running, home cooking and never turns down a glass of bubbly. She is based in Los Angeles, CA.

Rika Iino, Creative Producer, Sozo Creative
Rika (she/her) is the founder of Sozo Media, a collective of creative companies: Sozo Artists, a dynamic roster of artists in dance, music, spoken word, new media and film focused on innovation and social justice; Sozo Impact, a non-profit organization dedicated to incubating work by BIPOC artists and producers; and Sozo Vision, a consultancy which partners with institutions to design social impact-facing programs and strategies, with clients ranging from Yale University to The Apollo Theater. Rika’s work as producer/manager spans two decades and hundreds of live and digital projects with artists and organizations globally. Rika plays an active role in arts advocacy and leadership development across the industry including work with Creative & Independent Producer Alliance, Association for Performing Arts Professionals, and International Society for the Performing Arts. In January 2021, Rika became the first woman of color to receive the Patrick Hayes Award for transformative leadership in the arts. Rika was raised in Japan, studied music at Mozarteum in Austria and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University. She is based in Oakland, CA.


June 19, 2021
June 30, 2021