“Speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues” — Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

This sentiment is at the heart of “For the Trees,” an interdisciplinary production using music, sound design, lighting, visual imagery, spoken word, and educational resources to raise awareness and inspire action around the issue of deforestation and the destructive ways it contributes to climate change. 

For many of us, the destructive actions taken by human society for centuries have ramifications that we are beginning to see in our day-to-day lives. It is also a crisis of conscience for us who recognize how our own individual actions do little to curb the encroaching danger. A global conversation is beginning to take place that has the potential to galvanize our political, intellectual, and scientific will in an effort to limit the damage we have done to our planet. As a modern string quartet committed to promoting new works, we would like to add to that conversation a meaningful emotional component.

The degradation of the world’s forests is one of the most pressing ecological crises today. Forest degradation leads to soil erosion, habitat loss, and species extinction; it is also a major contributor to global warming through the release of massive amounts of carbon while also simultaneously eliminating a key mechanism for mitigating the impacts of global warming. Despite the urgency of the problem, most citizens are unaware of the issues driving deforestation and the profound ecological damage that results. Awareness and education is key. 



Adrian B. Sims – New work for string quartet

Caroline Shaw – The Evergreen

Alexandra Gardner – New work for string quartet


Jeffrey Nytch – For the Trees


  1. Sound installation: created by Nathan Hall, this soundscape combines the sounds of forests from around the world with highly-sensitive recordings of the inner workings of trees. This will play from the moment the house opens and continues after the House has been closed.
  2. String Quartet (approx. 26 minutes): The quartet is inspired by the story of “Big Lonely Doug,” a 1,000-year old Douglas Fir on Vancouver Island that, more or less by fluke, was spared the loggers’ saws when the surrounding grove was clear-cut in 2011.
  3. Visuals: The striking conclusion of the quartet is accompanied by the "before and after" pictures of old growth logging on Vancouver Island, BC, taken by acclaimed photographer T.J. Watt.
  4. Spoken word: A spoken word collage brings together voices from around the world, including Indigenous Americans, reflecting on the meaning of trees in their lives.


Modular performance design:

The show is designed in a modular fashion to provide maximum flexibility for groups and venues. We hope this will encourage presenters to think creatively about how, where, when and for whom the piece is presented. 

All productions will come with a customized package of sound files, lighting instructions, and a list of resources for post-concert discussion. 

Options include:

Full immersive production:
This option includes pre-music sound installation, quartet, “before/after” visuals, vocal montage, and post-performance dialogue. Approximate duration: 75-90 minutes, depending on how long the dialogue lasts.

Modified immersive productions:
This version forgoes the sound installation and includes only the music, “before/after” visuals, and vocal montage. Another option would be to include only the visuals or only the vocal montage, depending on the tech capacity of the venue or other programming issues. Post-performance dialogue could still be included as part of the show, as a pre-show discussion, or at some other time and location. Approximate duration (not including any discussion): 26-28 minutes, depending on whether or not the vocal montage is included.

Concert-only option:
The quartet can also be played solely as a concert piece, with no additional media. Approximate duration: 26 minutes


The Tesla Quartet is known the world over for their “superb capacity to find the inner heart of everything they play, regardless of era, style, or technical demand” (The International Review of Music). From contemporary works to established masterpieces, the Tesla Quartet’s thoughtful interpretations reveal the ensemble’s deep commitment to their craft. The Tesla Quartet builds upon years of early success at numerous competitions including top prizes at the prestigious 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition, 2015 International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition, and 2012 Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet Competition. From 2009 to 2012, the quartet held a fellowship as the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where they studied with the Takács Quartet. Now entering its second decade, the quartet performs regularly across North America and Europe, with recent highlights including their debut at Lincoln Center, a return to Wigmore Hall, and performances at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall as winners of the prestigious John Lad Prize. 

Jeffrey Nytch has built a diverse career as a composer, educator, and thought leader in the field of arts entrepreneurship. He has also performed a wide range of repertoire as a vocalist and voice actor, and served six seasons as Executive Director of The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, one of the nation’s premiere new music ensembles. In 2009 he joined the faculty of The University of Colorado-Boulder, where he is an Associate Professor of Composition and serves as Director of The Entrepreneurship Center for Music, one of the leading programs of its kind. Nytch’s music has been performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, MoMA, National Sawdust, the Corcoran Gallery, the Kennedy Center, and countless other venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. Notable artists include the New York Chamber Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Third Coast Percussion, ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, Grammy-winning violinist Edward Dusinberre, and many others.