Announcing the Essential Work(er)s Project

What does it mean to be an “essential worker”? Who does “essential work”? Is creative work essential?

Art by David LaMorte

This summer, I invite you to join in supporting new musical creation.  Over the past several months, I’ve been shepherding the Essential Work(er)s Project, a virtual concert series for an age of pandemic. 

For this project, I joined together with diverse musicians around the country to collaborate on a series of new, original pieces. The musicians in this project range from Grammy-winning artists to classical cellists to roots guitarists to free improvisers. Together we created new compositions, adding to each other’s ideas and voices to develop something entirely new.

The resulting pieces of music are exciting and dynamic, reaching across genres to explore the contours of our current lives.

We are so excited to debut this music through our summer series. We will be releasing a new composition on the 1st and 15th of July and August via Patreon ( You can subscribe to the entire series for as little as $20 (just $5 per piece), or you can contribute more for additional levels of access and involvement.

Your subscription to this series helps support working musicians during a challenging time. In serving as a patron for new musical work, you also promote and foster the creation of new art, and speak to music’s enduring value. Artists have always helped individuals interrogate their shared humanity. The Essential Work(er)s Project provides a space for musicians to continue this work during a time of pandemic, and provides an important mechanism for mutual aid.  Proceeds from this project will help support those musicians — in this project and beyond — who have lost a core source of their livelihood due to the pandemic. While our summer performances schedules have been cancelled, virtual summer series like this one carry on.

Learn more about the project on Patreon ( You can also support us by following us on Instagram (@essential_workers_project), and sharing the project with friends and on social media. Thanks for being a supporter of live music, and I hope to see you (virtually) at the series!

Become a Patron!

Notes from the New York Pause #4:

Pauline Oliveros was one of America’s most visionary composers. Her most important practice, Deep Listening, became a lifelong exploration for her. Part musical guide, part spiritual practice, I have found her works especially inspiring during our time of quarantine and pandemic. One piece I have been particularly drawn to is Open Field (1980).

Open Field (1980)
When a sight, sound, movement, or place attracts your attention during your daily life, consider that moment an “art experience”. Find a way to record an impression of this momentary “art experience” using any appropriate means or media. Share these experiences with each other and make them available to others.

–Pauline Oliveros

During this time of isolation and distance, finding new rituals that have the possibility to develop connection between people has been important. “Open Field” has been generative. By reminding us to focus on the beauty all around us, it serves as an entry point into noticing where we are at this moment. My hope is to document some of these “art experiences” here in the coming days.