Video Premiere: Yolanda Kondonassis Performs Reena Esmail’s inconvenient wounds

Nature is seen as both a thing of beauty and reckoning in the music video for Reena Esmail’s inconvenient wounds, one of 15 new works from harpist Yolanda Kondonassis‘ FIVE MINUTES for Earth project. Plinking high strings trickle like raindrops and cascading glissandi roll like waves, but these stereotypical harp gestures soon become distorted as we cut from serene images of oceanic tides to devastatingly flooded communities. We hear the textural metallic scraping and thrumming of the low strings and flexatone-like pitch bends as we watch our planet fill with garbage and burn, ultimately leaving nothing but stark octaves resonating through the ash.

FIVE MINUTES for Earth features world premiere recordings of five-minute harp works by Jocelyn Chambers, Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, Daniel Dorff, Reena Esmail, Keith Fitch, Patrick Harlin, Stephen Hartke, Nathaniel Heyder, Takuma Itoh, Aaron Jay Kernis, Philip Maneval, Máximo Diego Pujol, Gary Schocker, and Zhou Long. Reflecting Yolanda’s passion for Earth conservation and climate activism, royalties from the recording release will be donated to earth causes and initiatives, and her non-profit foundation, Earth at Heart®, will make an additional donation for each verified performance of any work in the FIVE MINUTES collection – by any harpist, anywhere in the world. Beneficiaries include The Rainforest Alliance, The Sierra Club Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy, and Wildlife Fund.

Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis (Photo by Laura Watilo Blake) and composer Reena Esmail (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis (Photo by Laura Watilo Blake) and composer Reena Esmail (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Here’s what Yolanda had to say about FIVE MINUTES for Earth:

We all know that the power of music can alter mood, atmosphere, and even health for the better; the idea of FIVE MINUTES for Earth is built on the notion that maybe music can alter mindsets for the better, too. This concept is at the root of my non-profit foundation, Earth at Heart®, which sponsors the FIVE MINUTES project and has the mission of inspiring earth conservation awareness and action through the portal of the arts. Reena Email’s inconvenient wounds is a particularly powerful track because it takes on the elephant in the room within the FIVE MINUTES theme, which is the man-made toll on the future of our planet. Beautiful, haunting, and at times uncomfortable, Reena’s piece isn’t just a creative new work; it is a call to listen.

FIVE MINUTES for Earth is out now on Azica Records, and you can purchase or stream the album here.

About Yolanda Kondonassis

Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s preeminent harp soloists and has performed around the globe. She has recorded over twenty albums, sold hundreds of thousands of discs and downloads worldwide, made over two dozen world premiere recordings, and received two GRAMMY nominations. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp, and environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career.

Since making her solo debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic, Kondonassis has appeared with numerous major orchestras and in concert halls throughout the world. Her most recent publications include The Composer’s Guide to Writing Well for the Modern Harp (Carl Fischer) and the second edition of her children’s book, My Earth, My Home (Sky Horse). Kondonassis is the founder and director of Earth at Heart®, a non-profit organization devoted to earth conservation action and awareness.

About Reena Esmail

Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, to bring communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. Esmail holds degrees from The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. A resident of Los Angeles, Esmail is the 20-23 Swan Family Artist in Residence with Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the 20-21 Composer in Residence with Seattle Symphony. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of New Music USA, and Co Founder and Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music connecting musical traditions of India and the West.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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