For Joyce DiDonato, music is always linked to the big questions and challenges of our time. Her projects over recent years have focused on prison reform, the plight of refugees, the need for music education for all, and our times of war and peace.
Now, she turns to the natural world, and our future with it, working with school children to find the musical message for our time and theirs.
School children from Bishop Ramsey CE School, London were invited to write a piece themselves, with the help of the opera star, their teacher, and the natural world around them.
To create the song, the mezzo invited the children to explore nature around their school, plant bulbs, and seeds, and asked them to think about the question, ‘what if trees could sing?’.
Keeping that question in mind, the young musicians then went away to create lyrics, melodies and musical ideas. These were then assembled and pieced together by teacher, Mike Roberts, and Seeds of Hope sprang forth.
It’s a powerful, moving piece. Watch Joyce and the children of Bishop Ramsey CE School perform it below.
The new work is a major part of DiDonato’s EDEN project, which includes a recording on Warner Classics’ Erato label and a 45-venue tour across five continents.
She says, “Part of EDEN’s mission is to challenge everyone who encounters it to stop and observe the beauty that is present all around them. Sometimes it requires a shift of focus, and sometimes it comes from an inspiring infusion of art and beauty created in real-time.”
The sheet music for Seeds of Hope is available on Joyce’s EDEN website. You can also watch a mini-documentary about its creation below.