New Music Ensemble to go on sixth national parks tour

June 13, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 18)
Article by Peg West

musicians perform at an outside theater space at Olympic National Park

The New Music Ensemble performs for visitors at Olympic National Park in Washington in 2018.

Photo Credit: courtesy photo

The Grand Valley New Music Ensemble is once again hitting the road to play original compositions in national parks.

This is the sixth time that the acclaimed musical group, founded and led by professor Bill Ryan, has gone on the tour. Ryan commissions pieces from composers to create music that reflects the natural beauty of the parks.

Funding from a fifth National Endowment for the Arts grant supports the 20-day, 6,000-mile tour to the western United States in July, Ryan said. 

The group will perform in these parks: Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota; Crater Lake National Park in Oregon; Redwood National Park in California; Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and Yosemite National Park in California. There also will be a special event at Bristlecone General Store in Nevada.

The muses for this tour's compositions range from the giant redwood trees at Redwood National Park to a hemlock that has bobbed up and down for more than 100 years in the lake at Crater Lake National Park.

Once the tour is complete, the ensemble will have premiered 40 new compositions in 30 different national parks, Ryan said.

Founded in 2006, the ensemble is an undergraduate group that focuses on contemporary music. The ensemble has received recognition from national publications and performed throughout the country.


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This article was last edited on June 12, 2023 at 11:34 a.m.

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