About Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music

Wendell Berry and Andrew Maxfield - Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music Louisville Premiere 2013

By the time I had conceived of this project (around 2005), Mr. Berry’s essays, novels, and poems had already affected me profoundly. I’m guessing that since you are reading this, you may have had similar experiences.

In my case, expressing my appreciation for his work came most easily through music. I began with just a few choral music settings of his texts. Early performances of those pieces were received well enough that I began to imagine a larger project. One conversation led to another, and I gradually assembled the cast of wonderful collaborators you see here. You can read about how Eric Bibb got involved, the origin of Greg Newbold’s art, and more in the album notes, written by Jason Peters, who edited the terrific book, Wendell Berry: Life and Work.

A highlight of the project, of course, was visiting Mr. and Mrs. Berry at their home in Kentucky. You’ll hear Mr. Berry read from his own work on the album.

Along the way, while I was pursuing this musical path, The Berry Center was emerging as a vehicle for putting into action many of the ideas the Berry family has advocated. I began to perceive a possible confluence of our interests. And so we coordinated a premiere performance in Louisville, KY in 2013 to kick off The Berry Center's inaugural conference and the release of Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music (Volume 1)

In 2016, I added a Volume 2. Entitled All The Earth Shall Singit adds new choral and art music to the growing project, as well as more recordings of Mr. Berry reading his work.

Of course, when a project like this is released, it begins to take on a life of its own. Nothing makes me happier than to hear of new friends across the globe finding meaning and joy in this music that was such a joy to make. I hope you find joy in it, too.

Andrew Maxfield
Composer / Producer

Instagram: @drewmaxfield