A meditation on the beauty of nature and the fate of the planet, “This Rock We’re On: Imaginary Letters” is a multi-movement work by the acclaimed composer Mike Holober. Written for jazz orchestra, voice, cello, and percussion, it features art songs set for chamber ensemble that take the form of imaginary letters to or from selected “protagonists” -- naturalist authors, artists, and activists who dedicated their lives to appreciating and protecting the earth we inhabit. Each of the vocal works is followed by an instrumental jazz orchestra piece that reflects upon the text of the letter. Recorded and premiered by the GRAMMY® nominated Gotham Jazz Orchestra in June 2023, a double CD is scheduled for release in Jume 2024 (Palmetto Records).

Featuring Holober's GRAMMY-nominated Gotham Jazz Orchestra, soloists include Jason Rigby (tenor saxophone), Ben Kono (alto saxophone), Charles Pillow (alto saxophone), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Jared Schonig (drums), Nir Felder (guitar), Jody Redhage Ferber (cello) and James Shipp (percussion). The ensemble is joined for the occasion by tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist John Patitucci, and the up-and-coming Brazilian vocalist Jamile Staevie Ayres

“This Rock We’re On: Imaginary Letters” was launched with generous support from the inaugural endowment of the Stuart Z. Katz Professorship in the Humanities and Arts at the City College of New York. A PSC-CUNY Research Foundation grant provided additional funding, and it was written during residencies at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Ucross Foundation for the Arts, and MacDowell.


Letter from Terry Tempest Williams for album liner notes

Refuge/Tower Pulse - Composer's Note

Three Words for Snow/Boundary Waters - Composer's Notes