Roots Beneath is an orchestral work inspired by the complex underground communication networks of trees. It was commissioned and premiered by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) on July 20, 2022 in Kingston, Ontario as part of their Borealis Tour.
"Roots Beneath is inspired by the underground communication networks of trees and, in particular, the oldest and largest trees at the centre of these networks which are often referred to as a "mother tree". Through this network, trees are able to share information, nutrients, recognize genetic offspring, and when a mother tree passes, she will bequeath her carbon to her kin
so they might have a better chance of survival. When I came across this research, I thought this unseen communication network and the role of a mother tree was a beautiful image and metaphor for strength in community, generosity, selflessness, and compassion. A beautiful story to bring to life in music!
In Roots Beneath, you'll hear this subterranean communication transformed throughout the piece — first in murmuring voices, then moving through the orchestra. There are three distinct sections in this work. In the opening scene, we take in the beauty of the forest and the majesty of its mother tree. Then, in the middle section, we hear flurries of activity and communication as something changes in the forest environment. Finally, in the closing section, we move from the depths of the earth to the heavens as the forest's mother tree passes on." — K. G.