One Hundred and Four Thousand

Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, MA

one tree per person

April, 2012 - Ongoing


There are approximately 104,000 people buried at the old Victorian Forest Hills Cemetery. There are also approximately 104,000 trees growing on the 250 acres of beautiful landscape. One Hundred and Four Thousand is a site-specific composition intended to honor both the living and the dead; history and the present.

I wanted to explore the cemetery’s contemplative nature as well as the relationships that various cemetery ‘dwellers’ have to their surroundings. My intent was to create music that evokes my own personal feelings about spending time within the borders of Forest Hills through the words and voices of other cemetery dwellers.

Over the course of several months in early spring, 2006, I interviewed 26 people in the cemetery, both visitors and employees. I used these recorded interviews in tandem with traditional instruments to compose the piece. For listeners, the music and voices will mix with the ambient sounds, smells and sights they encounter as they make their way through the cemetery on paths of their choosing.

We performed the piece live in Forsyth Chapel at Forest Hills at the end of the exhibit


Performance Excerpts

Performed at Forsythe Chapel at Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, MA

Video footage and editing by Rob Cheyne.


  • Peter Bailey - guitar and electronics
  • Halsey Burgund - live electronics, samplers and mallet percussion
  • Bekka Shellenberg - violin
  • Javier Caballero - cello
  • Bennett Miller - double bass
  • Michael O'Connor - tenor sax and flute

Audio From Sections I-V