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Inside the Music

Joy in the Prairie

Composer Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema, the famed music education system launched by the late José Antonio Abreu to instigate social change and transformation in young lives. It’s a background that led Moya to studies at the Juilliard School, numerous commissions, awards and accolades, and eventually to Minnesota, where he taught at St. Olaf College and now serves as assistant professor of composition at Augsburg University.

Moya wrote his Minnesota Suite in 2020 as a sonic tribute to the geography of his new home state; each of its three movements references a particular aspect of the Minnesota landscape. The final movement, Lily of the West, which the Minnesota Orchestra performed for the 2021 Symphony Ball, depicts the big skies and vast expanse of the prairie. He cites as inspiration an old pioneer song called “Lovely Minnesoty” that he incorporates into a solo clarinet line at the beginning of the piece.

We share Reinaldo Moya’s Lily of the West on Earth Day in honor of beautiful landscapes, everywhere.