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Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis Announces FIVE MINUTES for Earth® - Fifteen New Solos for Harp

New Works by:

Chen Yi, Nathaniel Heyder, Aaron Jay Kernis, Patrick Harlin, Keith Fitch, Stephen Hartke, Reena Esmail, Zhou Long, Michael Daugherty, Gary Schocker, Jocelyn Chambers, Daniel Dorff, Philip Maneval, and Máximo Diego Pujol

(listed by row, left to right)

World Premiere performances to take place in NYC & LA in April 2022

Recording on Azica Records to be released in March 2022

Multiple GRAMMY-nominated harpist Yolanda Kondonassis announces FIVE MINUTES for Earth®, her new project that both celebrates our planet and illuminates the challenge to preserve it. Kondonassis has tasked fifteen of today’s most innovative compositional voices with creating works or soundscapes of five minutes or less for the harp that express a powerful experience inspired by Earth in one of its many conditions or atmospheres. FIVE MINUTES is also a metaphor for the urgent and compressed timeframe that remains for our global community to find and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

All composers are generously contributing their works to the project, and each solo is written for and dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis: Chen Yi, Jocelyn Chambers, Michael Daugherty, Daniel Dorff, Reena Esmail, Keith Fitch, Patrick Harlin, Stephen Hartke, Nathaniel Heyder, Aaron Jay Kernis, Philip Maneval, Máximo Diego Pujol, Gary Schocker, and Zhou Long.

The concept of the project is built upon the idea of bringing the classical music community together in support of earth conservation and “paying it forward” through one’s artistic contribution, where the creation and performance of music actually generates funding for earth causes. After the works are premiered and released on recording by Yolanda in the Spring of 2022, the music will be available to harpists worldwide, and for each verified performance of any work in the FIVE MINUTES collection - by any harpist, anywhere in the world - Kondonassis’ non-profit organization Earth at Heart® will make a donation to a recognized earth conservation organization. The beneficiary organizations include The Rainforest Alliance, The Sierra Club Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy, and Wildlife Fund.

World premiere performances of the FIVE MINUTES collection by Yolanda Kondonassis are planned in New York City and Los Angeles in April of 2022 – Earth Day month. The multimedia concerts will create an evocative, cohesive journey through both the exquisite beauty of Earth and the inevitable perils if we fail to protect it. Photographic images, curated especially for the production, will be featured, along with original poetry and text that illuminate the music and the imagery.

Additionally, Kondonassis will record all fifteen works to be released on Azica Records in March 2022. Her royalties from the recording release will be donated to earth causes and initiatives.

As founder and director of the non-profit organization, Earth at Heart®, Kondonassis says, “Climate change, air quality, water pollution, man-made disasters, and diminishing resources are all inconvenient topics that have become increasingly politicized. Sometimes we instinctively know something deserves our attention, but we need a bit of inspiration to push us into action. As a musician, I see the profound impact of the arts all around us on a daily basis. That is why I founded Earth at Heart®. When we see an idea expressed in the language of music, dance, visual art, or poetry, those sensory experiences often open the mind and heart to interaction and reaction in ways that mere facts may not. With every passing moment, we lose ground in the battle to protect our environment from the dire consequences of waste, neglect, and abuse. Action is the goal, but a visceral call to engagement can be the catalyst. There is not a minute to lose in our battle to protect the future of our planet, and an open heart and inspired commitment can make all the difference.”

FIVE MINUTES also builds upon Kondonassis’ commitment to the advancement of new music and her passion for inspiring composers to write for the harp. She has promoted countless new works through her numerous recordings, commissions, and performances, including the world premiere series of Bright Sheng’s Never Far Away: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra with the San Diego Symphony and the Dallas Symphony, and most recently, she was the dedicatee and soloist in the world premiere series of Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto; Kondonassis’ recording of Higdon’s Harp Concerto earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo in 2020. Her extensive discography includes works by Rorem, Rochberg, Erb, Liebermann, Paulus, Fitch, Lash, Montsalvatge, Takemitsu, Cage, and Carter, among others.

Royalties from several of her other projects are donated to earth causes and her first children’s book, entitled Our House is Round: A Kid’s Book About Why Protecting Our Earth Matters, was published in 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing and praised as “the perfect children’s introduction to environmental issues” by The Environmental Defense Fund. The book was licensed as a featured title by Scholastic Books and will see its paperback release in April of 2022

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