During the 1940's internationally famous Russian pianist Maxim Shapiro came to Juneau to give a concert. Favorably impressed with the place, he suggested an "Alaska Music Trail" with a series of four artists or groups yearly. His hand-picked musicians from all over the world contracted concerts in eighteen Alaskan towns and in about six Canadian towns. He hoped that the "Music Trail" would last at least ten years, but he died in the ninth year, and his wife, Jane, carried his project through twenty-five years.
The CrossSound Festival continues the spirit of this Alaska Music Trail in Southeast Alaska but with a twist. Not only will CrossSound present musicians from all over the world in Southeast Alaska, but also provide newly written compositions for them to play together with Southeast musicians . . .
CrossSound will present an international music festival for Southeast Alaska that will tour the region. It will entertain audiences with new musical compositions played by ensembles of Southeast Alaskan musicians and guest artists. The goal is the creation of integrated, balanced ensembles that give especially amateur and student musicians the opportunity to experience the multiple artistic standards heard today in professional performances internationally.
This celebration of musical diversity will offer a variety of engaging aesthetic experiences for Southeast Alaskans. Including as many as six world premieres each year, the programs will focus on contemporary music and incorporate new compositions for non-western instruments.
CrossSound is for Southeast Alaskans. The festival will travel through Southeast communities that agree to host the concerts. Concerts will be held at times that avoid conflicting with other annual musical events in the region, as well as to take advantage of the seasonal availability of many Southeast Alaskan musicians such as students or those involved in the fishing industry for example. Once a concert has been performed in one community, it will travel to other towns in Southeast via the Alaska Marine Highway.
CrossSound will function as an agent that brings together artists from Southeast Alaska with guest artists from all around the globe. Southeast Alaskan musicians will encounter a wide variety of contemporary compositional styles thus connecting Southeast Alaska to the array of artistic developments in other parts of the world with the goal of creating an ever expanding range of aesthetic experiences. The concerts will serve to enrich the cultural life in Southeast, rounding out the concert seasons in a way that only very few regions the world can boast.
Through rehearsals and concerts, and with out-reaching ancillary programs, CrossSound will involve musicians and audiences of all ages from all communities in Southeast Alaska. CrossSound aims to bridge cultural and social barriers, facilitating cross-cultural interaction and encourage reciprocal learning. Over time it will allow audiences and artists to embrace new and unfamiliar music and inspire individual explorations into new musical worlds. CrossSound will be open for applications to participate in the concerts from individual musicians, groups of musicians, as well as composers of all ages and heritages.