FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Crater Lake (giiwas) Centennial Celebration Kick-off

Britt Orchestra to perform world premiere of Michael Gordon’s Natural History music piece at Crater Lake National Park, July 29-30

Events will begin July 29th with opening ceremonies by the Klamath Tribes and the Steiger Butte Singers- The indigenous people and caretakers of (giiwas)- Crater Lakeklamatch

CHILOQUIN, OR — Members of the Britt Orchestra and Music Director Teddy Abrams will celebrate the unique majesty of Crater Lake with performances at the national park.  The performances will include approximately 40 members of the Britt Orchestra; 15 members of Steiger Butte Drum, composed of members of the Klamath Tribes; 30 brass and percussion students from Southern Oregon University; and a 70-voice regional choir. The musicians will perform a world premiere composition titled Natural History by Michael Gordon, commissioned by Britt and inspired by Crater Lake. The performances are free to all park-goers (normal park entrance fees will apply), and are presented as part of the centennial celebration of the U.S. National Park Service.

“We have been searching for innovative and unique opportunities with which to showcase Crater Lake for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service,” says Craig W. Ackerman, Superintendent of Crater Lake National Park CLNP. “The Britt performances do all that and more. A place-based musical composition will connect the spectacular scenery and resources of the lake with a cultural and artistic heritage that stretches beyond the founding of the park. These performances will attract national recognition for the park, the Rogue Valley and all of southern Oregon.”

Michael Gordon spent time during the last year at Crater Lake, to draw on the living landscape and the ancient lake for inspiration for his composition. “Natural History is designed to be an experiential, spatial work,” Gordon said. “The idea is to draw out the natural sounds in and around Crater Lake and connect the natural sonic environment to the orchestra.” Gordon’s work has been informed by his tours of the park with Superintendent Ackerman and Park Historian Stephen Mark, and by spending a week in a ranger’s house in winter. He also spent an afternoon working with the Steiger Butte Drummers, an extended family from the Klamath Tribes that sings and collectively plays a large drum, which they encircle. The drum group members are the soloists of Natural History.

“For this collaboration, we want to create a work of musical art that truly binds the natural environment and topography of Crater Lake with a musical landscape and experience,” said Britt Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams. “It’s important to us that this work feels deeply connected to the environment, instead of us simply presenting music in a beautiful place.”

“The Klamath Tribes have occupied this area in Southern Oregon since time immemorial, and giiwas (Crater Lake- A Spiritual Place), is the original homelands of the Klamath Tribal people,” says Taylor R. Tupper, Public Relations Manager of the Klamath Tribes.  “It is not only important that the Klamath Tribes open this celebration, it is necessary, as this place holds great spiritual meaning and the oral history about its origin has been handed down for thousands of generations. It is a great honor to represent our ancestors at this time and provide the true history of this beautiful sacred place.”

Britt CEO and President Donna Briggs says, “Under the leadership of Maestro Abrams, the Crater Lake Project has captured the attention of regional and national audiences. We have music and nature lovers coming from as far away as Massachusetts to experience our Britt Orchestra and Oregon’s treasured National Park.”

The performances are free to all park-goers (normal park entrance fees still apply), and are scheduled as follows:

*Note: Enrolled Klamath Tribal Members have free entry to the park when you present your Klamath Tribal Identification card.


*Britt Orchestra – World Premiere Performance of Natural History:

Friday, July 29, 10 a.m. Watchman Overlook.

This one performance is by invitation only, with vehicular transportation coordinated by Britt. In addition, walkers or cyclists are welcome to attend.

PLEASE NOTE: the Rim Road will be closed from 9–11 a.m., from Discovery Point to North Junction, on Friday, July 29.


*Britt Orchestra Performances of Natural History at Picnic Hill, near Rim Village:
Open to the public

Friday, July 29, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m.

There will be limited seating at each concert, and limited accessible accommodations.

A limited number of seats are available for free bus transport into the park for these performances. This transport is offered free of charge. Attendees will meet at the either Thousand Springs Sno Park or Annie Creek Sno Park, one hour before performance time. PLEASE NOTE: Attendees using this free bus transport will be returned to the pickup location immediately after the performance ends. See to view the schedule available, and to reserve your space. Bus transport seating is limited, and reservations are required to participate.

In addition to the six orchestral performances of Michael Gordon’s Natural History, there will be performances by individuals and ensembles scattered around the park. Performers will be located in each of the following locations throughout both days, in between the times allotted for the orchestra performances of Natural History:

The Watchman Overlook
Phantom Ship Overlook
Cloudcap Overlook

A full schedule of these small ensemble performances is available at

Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park preserves stunning scenery, volcanic landscapes, and the deepest lake in the United States, as well as a unique ecological and cultural heritage. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.


New York City-based Michael Gordon merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power in his music, embodying, in the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.” Over the past 25 years, Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles and major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Transcending categorization, this music represents the collision of mysterious introspection and brutal directness. This spring alone, Michael Gordon has had three world premieres: The Unchanging Sea, a piano concerto for Tomoko Mukayaima and the Seattle Symphony, with video by Bill Morrison; Material, for experimental ensemble Yarn/Wire, playing one piano, and Observations on Air, a bassoon concerto for Peter Whelan and the Orchestra for the Age of Enlightenment. The Ensemble Modern, the Dublin Guitar Quartet, and the New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, all presented world premieres of Gordon’s pieces in 2014-15. Other 2014-15 highlights: the Canadian premiere of Rushes (seven bassoons), the French premiere of Cold by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the U.S. premieres of both Dry and Hyper at Miller Theater.



The Steiger Butte Singers are from Chiloquin, Oregon and are members of the Klamath Tribes.  Their name, Steiger Butte, originates from a vision quest site used traditionally by the tribal people.  The Steiger Butte drum has been in existence for over 3 generations.  This drum has always been a family drum that travels the United States and the Pacific Northwest.   Now in their third generation of singers, Steiger Butte is comprised of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, nephews and nieces. They are a Northern Style powwow drum who has previously preformed at the Britt Festival and for the Crater Lake- Mirror of Heaven- documentary.


Inspired by its intimate and scenic hillside venue, Britt Music & Arts Festival provides diverse live performances, an incomparable classical festival and dynamic education programs that create a sense of discovery and community. Since its grassroots beginnings in 1963, the non-profit organization has grown from a two-week chamber music festival to a summer-long series of concerts in a variety of genres, including a three-week Britt Orchestra season, and year-round education and engagement programs. For more information, visit

For More information

Contact: Sara King Cole, Marketing Director, direct line: 541-690-3849;

Jean Catino Shirk,, 510-332-4195;

Marsha McCabe,, 541-594-3091

Mark Knippel
Orchestra Manager
Britt Music & Arts Festival
(541) 690-3856


Ms. Taylor R. Tupper

Klamath Tribes Public Information/News Dept.

Tribal Administration Office

501 Chiloquin Blvd, Chiloquin, Oregon 97624


Phone: 541-783-2219 ext. 147