Water is our sacred source of life, the birther of our world’s cultures, a symbol of our connection to nature and of our shared fates. At a time when the environment is more threatened than ever with pollution and our life-giving waterways at risk, Fifth House Ensemble traces the life cycle of water from its metaphorical descent from the heavens as rain, to its long journey in streams and rivers informed by conservation experts and ecologists. Featuring a new commission by Fresh Inc Festival alumnus Patrick O’Malley driven by ecological data from local conservation group Friends of the Chicago River, as well as music by and inspired by First Peoples, this program asks what it would mean to return to a sacred conception in which humans are a part of nature rather than beings standing outside of its impact. As part of the program’s premiere period in Spring 2020, Fifth House will take part in a Musical Day of Service in partnership with Friends of the Chicago River, inviting audiences to take an active role in the stewardship of earth’s resources. The ensemble also partners with Friends to design and present assembly programs in Chicago Public Schools linking musical and ecological learning goals for students grades 4-8.


John Luther Adams — The Wind in High Places

Alexander Miller — Glacier Blue

Mason Bates — Red River

Patrick O’Malley  — Rivers Empyrean (World Premiere)

Brent Michael Davids — In Wisconsin Woods

Kevin Puts — Seven Seascapes

Dan Visconti  — Low Country Haze

Patrick O’Malley is a composer whose works explore the musical interplay between emotion, color, energy, and landscape. His pieces span many of the contemporary mediums for classical music (orchestra, chamber ensembles, vocal music, film scores etc.), and have been performed across the United States as well as in France and Germany. He is also an alumnus of Fifth House Ensemble’s annual Fresh Inc Festival.

Most recently, O’Malley has been recognized and/or performed by organizations including the American Composers Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Next On Grand National Composers Intensive with wild Up, the Society of Composers Inc., The American Prize 1st Place for orchestral music in 2015, the Boston New Music Initiative, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award (finalist in 2012, 2014, 2015), and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has spent summers as a student at various music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Festival, and FUBiS composition course in Berlin. He is gratefully indebted to his private teachers over the years for helping guide his work, the most recent of which include Andrew Norman, Samuel Adler, and Frank Ticheli. O’Malley is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.