Shelter Music Boston Presents ‘Voices From The Land’

(Boston) Shelter Music Boston, the non-profit dedicated to bringing the dignity, creativity, and passion of classical music to Boston’s homeless population, is partnering with the Native American Composters Apprentice Project (NACAP) to bring a new perspective on classical music to shelters and other programs around Boston. Shelter Music Boston will release 12 videos called “Voices From the Land” which will feature original works by current NACAP students, alumni, and faculty from the Diné (Navajo), Hopi, Laguna, Salt River Pima-Maricopa, San Carlos Apache, and Tewa nations. Each video will include a special message from the composer of the piece. The videos will be released throughout the spring and will be available on Shelter Music Boston’s YouTube channel. Viewing is free for all and a new concert video will be added each week.


Shelter Music Boston aims to offer and respect the musical stories and human emotions that can bring together marginalized and traumatized populations, particularly the indigenous composers who have written the music featured in Voices From The Land and men, women, and children who face homelessness and substance misuse. With this project, Shelter Music Boston seeks to create empathy for indigenous people and to share knowledge of the ancestral and tribal land of modern day Massachusetts. This project acknowledges that Shelter Music Boston musicians perform or record concerts on the ancestral lands of the Pawtucket, Massachusett, and Wampanoag people.


Part of the Grand Canyon Music Festival, the Native American Composers Apprentice Project tutors Native American high-school students in the art of composition for string quartet and other small ensembles through an immersive program of study with professional Native composers. The goal of NACAP is to develop knowledge and practice of composition within Native communities of the Southwest, fostering the practice of composition as it relates to contemporary music and Native culture, through  hands-on training program in which students traverse the complete composer experience, from inspiration to notation, rehearsal, and performance.


“Voices From The Land” composers include:


Michael Begay – Diné

Xavier Ben – Diné

Gemal Benallie – Diné

Sage Bond – Diné and San Carlos Apache

Gregory Cortez – Diné

Cina Curley – Diné

Damien Jones- Diné

Sialik King – Salt River Pima-Maricopa

Arika Morningstar – Hopi

Christina Shupla – Hopi, Tewa, and Laguna

Dennelia Stevens – Diné

Thylia Yazzie – Diné


“Values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are central to the Shelter Music Boston mission,” says Julie Leven, Shelter Music Boston founder and creator of this project. “Artistic projects lift up the voices of those who have been marginalized, and we are proud to play a small part in amplifying the voices of these incredible NACAP composers.”


The Shelter Music Boston ensembles for this program feature:


Javier Caballero, cello Julia McKenzie, violin
Jonathan Hess, percussion Rhonda Rider, cello
Clare Hoffman, flute Rebecca Strauss, viola
Annegret Klaua, violin Nathaniel Taylor, cello
Julie Leven, violin Sonja Dutoit Tengblad, soprano/piano
Matthew Liebendorfer, viola Yonah Zur, violin


About Shelter Music Boston: 

Shelter Music Boston (SMB), founded in 2010 by Julie Leven, employs professional musicians to perform monthly classical chamber music concerts of the highest artistic standards in homeless shelters and other environments of need throughout Greater Boston. We believe that all people deserve access to the dignity, creativity, and passion of classical music whether or not they have a home.


Before the pandemic, Shelter Music Boston performed monthly live concerts for 8 area homeless shelters, substance recovery centers, and an after school program for children affected by homelessness. These partner organizations included Pine Street Inn, The Dimock Center, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, CASPAR, and Housing Families. With the transition to digital programming, SMB has added 20 additional programs as virtual partners, including Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Heading Home, and Victory Programs.


About Grand Canyon Music Festival: 

A pioneering chamber music festival with innovative programming and education projects in a magnificent world heritage site, our mission is to enhance the Grand Canyon experience by presenting world-class music in Grand Canyon National Park and in outreach programs to schools in rural and Native American communities.



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