The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble spent 10 days traveling 4,000 miles, performing 13 concerts at five southwest national parks — Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The Music in Our Parks project was two years in the making. The ensemble commissioned composers to create music inspired by national parks in the southwest. All concerts were free and open to the public.
• Armando Bayolo’s Wide Open Spaces delivers a beautiful tribute to the seemingly endless landscapes of the West.
• David Biedenbender’s Red Vesper asks the ensemble to hike into the backcountry and record the sounds of each park, and then to perform alongside those sounds.
• Ashley Stanley’s Night Sketches sets the vast night skies of the parks to a haunting and beautiful soundtrack.
• Dan Rhode’s Fingerpainting, based on the brilliant colors of southwest rock formations, invites audience members to perform with the ensemble on iPads.
• Thad Anderson’s work Within, for tuned metals and electronics, brings the listener inside the sound and the beautiful landscape surrounding them. In addition, music influenced by the natural environment, composed by Zoe Keating, Marc Mellits, Jad Abumrad, Paul Rudy, Mason Bates, and Bill Ryan, were also performed.