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Director Selects: “Treelogy” & MusiKaravan's homage to the Joshua tree

By Thor Steingraber

“Treelogy” premieres Feb. 23, 2023 at The Soraya


As an avid hiker, I experience the same thing out in the wilderness that I often experience in the concert hall – wonder and awe. The transformative power of beauty cannot be underestimated, no matter its source. If I hadn’t dedicated my life to the performing arts, I like to think I’d be working to protect our natural environment for the sake of future generations.

Those are a couple of reasons why Treelogy is such a passion project for me. Treelogy includes three original compositions dedicated to the three iconic tree species that are the postcards of California – the Joshua Tree, giant sequoia, and coastal redwood. All three were imperiled in the 2000 fires that consumed much of California and destroyed environments that took thousands of years to develop. At the time, I joined forces with violinist Etienne Gara and three composers to create an artistic response, to celebrate the beauty of these trees, to alleviate some of the dread or helplessness we experience in the face of the climate-related bad news.

A concert hall is a great place to bring our communities together in search of hope and solutions, and a world-class university like CSUN, where a project like this is so aligned with the values and educational mission, is a great place for a musical response to the outsized challenges of our day.

Treelogy was conceived while Etienne toured California in his VW bus, named Boris, bringing music to essential workers throughout our state. That journey was captured in a video series we co-produced called MusiKaravan. However, that 2020 tour did not make it to the desert, so we recently arranged a residency in Joshua Tree for Etienne, Boris, and the musicians of Delirium Musicum to workshop one of the three Treelogy compositions. Here’s the special-edition MusiKaravan video. If you’d like to learn more about Treelogy, I’ve also included a video of our recent press conference.

Please join us on February 23, 2023 to celebrate California’s beloved trees.


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