City Trees

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“…perseverance, embodied by the expansive melodies that sweep over the pensive, rhythmic undercurrent…”

Listen to City Trees

Performed by the Three Rivers Young Peoples Virtual Orchestra
Conductor Brian Worsdale

City Trees

Program Note

By Michael Markowski

I had just moved from Arizona to New York City when I began sketching the first fragments of City Trees. After being born, growing up, and living in the desert for 25 years of my life, moving to New York so suddenly was and continues to be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I think it has also been one of the bravest. I left my friends, my family, and my ridiculously cheap rent all without much planning.

Every time I walk down a street in New York, I notice the trees shackled by the sidewalk. Some have little fences around them, many have trash nestled up next to their exposed roots, and others have grown so big and become so strong that they have broken right through the concrete pavement. As I pass beneath them, they all seem to wave their leafy pom-poms in the wind, a thousand leaves applauding, cheering me on as if I had just returned from the moon.

These trees have learned how to brave the concrete jungle, and it gave me solace knowing that they had flourished in such a challenging environment. Over time, the impossibilities of the city have become familiar, and although I continue to learn new lessons everyday, I’ve slowly begun to assimilate, finding my way around, discovering new places, and making friends while still keeping close with those who aren’t close by. The music in City Trees began to take on a growing sense of perseverance, embodied by the expansive melodies that sweep over the pensive, rhythmic undercurrent.

For me, City Trees is a reflection of the bravery that it often takes to venture into new worlds, embrace other cultures, and lovingly encourage new ideas. I am deeply honored to dedicate this piece to the Lesbian and Gay Band Association. Although I may never completely understand the unique challenges my friends have faced and had to overcome, I am inspired by the overwhelming courage that has been so firmly planted for 30 years and that continues to grow, perhaps slowly, but always stronger.

Commissioned By

Transcription for orchestra commissioned by the Durham Medical Orchestra.

Originally commissioned for concert band by the Lesbian and Gay Band Association.


Markowski Creative (ASCAP)


2(1pic).2.2.2 timp, 3perc, hp, strings

Winds: Flute 1 & 2 (one doubling Piccolo), Oboe 1 & 2, B-flat Clarinet 1 & 2, Bassoon 1 & 2

Brass: Horn 1-4, B-flat Trumpet 1-3, Trombone 1-3, Tuba

Percussion: Timpani; P1) Crotales, Chimes, Tam-Tam (shared); P2) Vibraphone, Tam-Tam (shared), Suspended Cymbal, Snare Drum (shared); P3) Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Snare Drum (shared), Triangle

Strings: Strings, Harp


No known errata.

Year Completed


Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A