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The Forest and the Architect

The Forest and the Architect


Duration ~ 7:00

Program Notes:


In 1901, leaders in Portland Oregon, gathered to envision their city’s future. The city obtained the services of Frederick Law Olmsted’s sons to design the city’s parks. As the vision’s cornerstone, Olmsted proposed that the densely wooded hills above northwest Portland be designated by the City as “a forest park. The plans languished and Forest Park was plundered for over 40 years until advocates, city planners and leaders committed to its creation and dedication in 1948.  At 5,200 acres, it reigns as the largest urban forest in the United States and provides critical refuge for hundreds of native wildlife and plant species and contains more than 80 miles of trails. I traverse its trails often. In composing the piece, I sought to convey the forest’s inherent and contrasting elements within the context and timeframe of the park’s planning and inception – the sounds of the tiniest members of the forest’s diverse inhabitants; playful creatures traversing up and down its hills; the majesty of its towering trees, and the enduring Olmsted legacy.


Christina Rusnak, 2021


Commissioned by a consortium including: American Wild Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Landscape Music.org and Michigan Technological University. Performance rights for 2022 exclusive to consortium.


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Cover Art: Christina Rusnak

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