ESYO Premieres “Soundwalk” at Washington Park on May 30th

The Empire State Youth Orchestra is proud to introduce the Soundwalk created by Emma Edgar and her team. The Soundwalk, hosted at Washington Park in downtown Albany, combines technology, music, and nature to create an unforgettable experience for each walker as they stroll through the park. 

A group of next-generation, high school-aged musicians and artists from the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) Young Leader Program have announced that they will be hosting a Soundwalk at Albany’s well-known Washington Park. This Soundwalk, which will premiere on May 30, 2021-Memorial Day Weekend, will be available all summer. 

A Soundwalk is an immersive audio experience curated to accompany a walker as they stroll along various nature trails, increasing appreciation for their natural surroundings and their local park. The Washington Park lake trail was categorized into sections by the Soundwalk team. As a walker passes through each section, the music changes to match the particular sections of the trail. Young composers from ESYO and guest artists composed pieces of music for specific parts of the trail, highlighting its features. In addition to the focus on nature, some pieces will center on the significance of Albany’s heritage, both Dutch and Native American. This Soundwalk will allow walkers to be aware of their surroundings and experience the remarkable collaboration of nature and music. Just as the pieces of a puzzle fit together to construct a beautiful picture, the Soundwalk will permit technology, music, and nature to come together to create an unforgettable experience for each walker. 

This Soundwalk combines music and technology in a phone app called The app uses GPS navigation to choose the piece of music composed for that section so walkers are accompanied by a unique musical journey as they move through the park. 

Inspired by Ellen Reid’s previously held Soundwalk event in SPAC and Central Park, Young Leader Emma Edgar has brought together a group of high school musicians from ESYO and composers to create their own Soundwalk event in Albany’s Washington Park. Emma Edgar, Founder and Artistic Director of the Soundwalk project and a 12th grader at Bethlehem Central High School, said, “This Soundwalk is an important project for so many reasons. I joined ESYO and the Young Leader program because I wanted to make music with other dedicated young musicians like myself, and now, I want to give that opportunity back to the community. A park is a place that brings people together, and I am reaffirming that statement through this music. I hope that the Soundwalk will continue to grow, fueled by the community surrounding it. I hope this project inspires fellow young people to add vibrance to their community. I hope it will inspire older generations to see what my age is capable of. I also hope it inspires all people to look at the small things that often go unnoticed, especially during the time of COVID, and to offer a reprieve from unwelcome, looming worry that accompanies us during this pandemic.”

Pieces are composed by: Brett Wery, Aaron Houston, Jason Handron, Mike Blostein, Monica Roach, Clare Criscione, Max Caplan, and youth composers William Lauricella and Matthew Kenyon. Each piece is performed by ESYO musicians and special guest artists from the Musicians of Ma’alwyck, including ESYO Young Leader mentor Ann Marie Schwartz.

The Soundwalk team is comprised of 5 musicians from the ESYO Young Leaders program. When Meghana Bhupati, the composers and trail assignments manager for the Soundwalk and an 11th grader at Guilderland High School, was asked why she joined the Soundwalk, she said, “I joined this Soundwalk project because of my excitement towards technology’s ability to transform how people experience music. I feel so honored to be able to work on this project to showcase our talented ESYO composers and musicians as well as Albany’s unique landscapes and history.” Recording coordinator Yu-Heng Wang, a 10th grader at Shenendehowa High School, added, “I believed that joining the Soundwalk Administration would be a great skill-developing endeavor that will prepare me for the future.”

Production manager Jared Lamson, a 12th grader at Ravena Coeymans Selkirk High School, said, “Having young musicians bring music to a large audience of people through Washington Park not only expands the ESYO name but allows other young musicians to be inspired by their peers. He continued, “Our plan is to create a preliminary Soundwalk that the community can build off of in the future, in order to promote creativity and connectivity in this disconnected time. I personally love the overall idea and think it will truly make an impact when it is released.” Another team leader, Kristine Kim, an 11th grader at Colonie Central High School and marketing manager of the Soundwalk project, added, “Just a small idea turned into a big project. It is quite amazing how next-generation musicians are able to make such a significant change during a pandemic. I am truly proud of our team and how far we’ve come. It is beautiful how big of an impact music can make in our world.”

“I am incredibly impressed by the passion and creativity that inspired Soundwalk. Emma has not only conceived of a brilliant project, but has demonstrated skill beyond her years in its planning and execution. Emma is a member of the 2021 ESYO Young Leader cohort, and I could not be more proud of her work, and of the program as a whole. Young Leaders provides youth musicians the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and with adult mentors in the exploration and celebration of the musical arts. I am excited to participate in Emma’s Soundwalk this spring, and I encourage the community to come out and enjoy this musical adventure as well!” said Rebecca Calos, executive director of ESYO. 

This Soundwalk will be a creative musical event that will bring the community together through the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience will allow people to stay safe but connected through music and nature. This Soundwalk is sponsored by the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Young Leader program. For additional information about how you can experience the ESYO Soundwalk event, visit To donate and support the artists in the project, click here:

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