Amit Peled and the Mount Vernon Virtuosi (MVV) today release a new performance film set to the world premiere of composer John Clayton’s “The Hill We Climb. The piece is inspired by and set to the poem of the same name by American poet and activist Amanda Gorman, which she recited at the Biden presidential inauguration in January 2021.

Composer John Clayton says of the work:

“I imagined a scenario that would highlight the strength and the beauty of that poem, but also allow for a conversation between the cello ensemble and the maestro playing the solo parts… as if it were a concerto grosso.”

Peled and the Mount Vernon Virtuosi filmed the piece at The Station Foundation in Bozeman, Montana, where they participated in a week-long “bubble” of intensive study inspired by the NBA Bubble and performed for the Station Foundation residents, Special Operations Forces navigating the rough terrain of transition and reintegration back to civilian life.

Describing the impetus behind creating the film, Peled says:

“After such a turbulent time around the world due to Covid coupled with the continuous struggle for more equality in our country, the making of this film has been a torch of hope and strength for all of us who were involved in its creation. We hope viewers will find the music and words as inspiring and healing as we have.”

Cellists featured include Amit PeledNatalia VilchisNick PascucciLindsey ChoungMairéad FloryKyle VictorJiaoyang Sunny Xu, and Álvaro Vázquez Osa. The film was recorded in June 2021 by audio and video producer Matt Carr.

About John Clayton
Bassist, composer, arranger, and producer, John Clayton, is a busy man. With a Grammy on his shelf and nine additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour have had spots on his crowded calendar. In 1985 John co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and rekindled The Clayton Brothers Quintet. In addition to individual clinics, workshops, and private students as schedule permits, John also directs the educational components associated with the Centrum Jazz Festival and Workshop, and Vail Jazz Workshop. Career highlights include arranging the ‘Star Spangled Banner” for Whitney Houston’s performance at Super Bowl 1990 (the recording went platinum), playing bass on Paul McCartney’s CD “Kisses On The Bottom,” arranging and playing bass with Yo-Yo Ma and Friends on “Songs of Joy and Peace,” and arranging playing and conducting the CD “Charles Aznavour With the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra,” and numerous recordings with the Clayton Brothers, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander and many others. Learn more at

About Amit Peled
Praised by The Strad magazine and The New York Times, internationally renowned cellist Amit Peled is acclaimed as one of the most exciting and virtuosic instrumentalists on the concert stage today. Having performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Konzerthaus Berlin, Peled has released over a dozen recordings on the Naxos, Centaur, Delos, and CTM Classics labels. A professor since 2003 at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, he has performed and presented master classes around the world including at the Marlboro and Newport Music Festivals and the Heifetz International Music Summer Institute in the US, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove in England, and Keshet Eilon in Israel. Peled performs on a cello made by the Italian master Giovanni Grancino, ca. 1695, on generous loan from the Roux Family Foundation. He is represented worldwide by CTM Classics. For more information, visit

About the Mount Vernon Virtuosi
The Mount Vernon Virtuosi is a chamber orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. Composed of seventeen string players, the orchestra was founded in 2018 by cellist Amit Peled with a mission to provide a place of artistic growth for the young musician on the brink of their professional career. By providing a platform for young musicians to continue developing their skills, personal growth is achieved by engaging with audiences of all ages through exceptional performances and community engagement activities throughout the Baltimore and Washington DC region. To learn more, please visit