Grass Valley, CA – InConcert Sierra Orchestra’s upcoming concert will premiere local composer Alexis Alrich’s, “Sierra Rhapsody”, a work that was especially composed for, and features the performance of pianist Lynn Schugren.  The work was written as a tribute to the Sierra Foothills communities and the awe-inspiring Sierra Nevada will be performed Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, 2pm, at 12889 Osborne Hill Road, Grass Valley, CA .

Alexis Alrich
Alexis Alrich. Photo by Andrew Aldrich

Local composer Alrich’s musical journey began at the age of eight with piano lessons, leading to extensive composition studies at prestigious institutions such as the New England Conservatory of Music, California Institute of the Arts, and Mills College, where she achieved her master’s degree in music composition.

Known for her unique style, Alrich draws inspiration from a diverse range of influences, including minimalism, French Impressionism, gamelan, Chinese music, and American roots music. Her compositions are characterized by melodic and tonal elements, lively rhythms, and a vibrant palette of timbres, creating captivating musical narratives.

Her work has received acclaim from both audiences and critics alike, with one reviewer stating, “From its shimmering opening, Alrich’s substantial three-movement Marimba Concerto creates a distinctively lyrical world. The insistent rhythmic patterns of minimalism sit naturally alongside calmer, more impressionistic textures…” (BBC Music, Concertos for Mallet Instruments CD review).

Lynn Schugren, an accomplished local pianist with a rich history of solo and chamber music performances, is the dedicated force behind the creation of “Sierra Rhapsody.” Schugren’s musical journey has taken her to renowned venues, including Old First Concerts, Crocker Art Museum, and the Oakland Museum, while also sharing her talent with Music in the Mountains, the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, and the Young Composers Program of Music in the Mountains, now known as the Composers Project at InConcert Sierra.

“Sierra Rhapsody” was commissioned by Schugren, who also contributed to the title’s suggestion.  Alrich drew inspiration for this composition from the breathtaking Sierra Mountains, a snowy expanse that graces the spine of California.  Alrich’s contemplation from a vantage point above Donner Lake, with its majestic peaks, colorful wildflowers, and vibrant wildlife, shaped the essence of the music.

This concerto comprises three movements seamlessly woven into one continuous musical journey, featuring a main theme with a Celtic flair, a lively scherzo-like section, and a soul-stirring adagio. The piece concludes with a spirited coda. “Sierra Rhapsody” is designed to showcase Schugren’s artistic brilliance and pianistic prowess, harmoniously engaging with the orchestra’s diverse colors. It unfolds as a conversation between the piano and the ensemble, each conveying its unique voice, at times taking turns politely, at times echoing, and at times engaging in lively dialogue.

When asked about her musical style, Alrich humbly shared, “At times labeling my musical style has puzzled people. It is in the classical tradition but uses rhythms and harmonies not typical of earlier eras. However, it is not in avant-garde style, because it is melodic and has a clear tonality. Maybe someone will come up with a name for this style, but until that day, it’s ‘music.'”

“Sierra Rhapsody” promises to be an extraordinary musical journey, capturing the spirit of the Sierra Foothills and the Sierra Mountains in a melodic, tonal, and captivating composition. This world premiere is an event not to be missed, celebrating the artistic synergy between composer Alrich and pianist Schugren.

The venue for the concert is located at 12889 Osborne Hill Road (the Seventh-day Adventist Church) in Grass Valley on Sunday, Sept. 17,2023 at 2pm.  The premiere of “Sierra Rhapsody” is part of the Third Sunday Concert Series, featuring performances on the third Sunday of each month, culminating in May. A comprehensive list of upcoming events, artists, and season pass discounts can be found on our website: or contact us at 530-273-3990.

What:  InConcert Sierra Orchestra

When: Sunday, September 17, 2pm

Where: 12889 Osborne Hill Road, Grass Valley, CA

Tickets: $48 general (no added fees), youth under 18 free