Sky Islands by Susie Ibarra Held in New York

Featured & Cover Sky Islands by Susie Ibarra Held in New York

Sky Islands features the Extended Talking Gong Ensemble, with percussionist Ibarra, Claire Chase on flute, Alex Peh on piano, and Levy Lorenzo on percussion alongside the Bergamot String Quartet comprising violinists Ledah Finck and Sarah Thomas, violist Amy Huimei Tan and cellist Irène Han.

This preview performance is followed by a panel discussion with the performers and climate scientist Daniel Ibarra on the real-life ecosystems or “sky islands” that inspired Ibarra’s composition and exploring how art and science can amplify the urgency in the fight against climate change. The event will be held on Tue, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Asia Society New York.

A musical call to action, Sky Islands draws awareness to dwindling biodiversity, changing climate, and global community practices.

“Sky islands” are distinct ecosystems at high altitude ranges, known for becoming hotspots for biodiversity and unusual forms of life. Geographically isolated with few or no outside predators, sky islands are home to many species of small mammals that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, making them wondrous areas where we can see evolution “sped up”.

Ibarra was intrigued by the “sky islands” on the mountain tops of rainforests in her home region of Luzon, Philippines, home to the world’s largest number of unique mammal species. In this latest musical work commissioned by Asia Society, Ibarra captures, through sound and sculpture, the beautiful and somewhat magical existence of sky islands.

Sky Islands takes inspiration from the musical traditions of Luzon’s sky islands and features Philippine Northern style interlocking rhythms and melodies found in bamboo and gong and flute music of the Kalinga and Cordilleras Region in Luzon. Highlighting Luzon’s rainforests—an endangered region with 31 endemic species, including the Philippine Eagle, and a region that has both volcanic and non-volcanic mountains amidst diverse fauna—Sky Islands aims to connect audiences to these fragile and beautiful ecosystems.

Sky Islands is commissioned by Asia Society, with support from Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, NYSCA, and NYFA Anonymous Was A Woman Environmental Artists Grants. This program is part of the COAL + ICE exhibition and series of programs at Asia Society, Feb. 13-Aug. 11, 2024, designed to provoke thought and action on climate change.

Tickets for the May 28 performance and panel discussion are $8 Asia Society Members, $15 Nonmembers. Students/Seniors may use coupon SENSTU at check out. Tickets may be purchased at here or by calling the Asia Society Box office at 212-517-ASIA (2742).

The world premiere of Sky Islands will be presented at Asia Society New York on Thu, Jul 18 and Sat, Jul 20 at 7:15 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets for the July performances are $20 Asia Society Members, $30 Nonmembers. Students and seniors: use coupon code SENSTU at checkout. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Asia Society Box office at 212-517-ASIA (2742).

Members of the media interested in complimentary tickets to the May 28 work in progress performance and discussion or the July performances should email [email protected]

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