The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is returning to the national stage to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park System. With a funding award from the National Endowment for the Arts, eight acclaimed composers were commissioned to create music that will be performed within the parks this summer. The music reflects the immense diversity of the parks while capturing their breathtaking and inspiring landscapes and wildlife. Alexandra Gardner’s Vixen portrays the wild spirit of Yellowstone’s unpredictable Vixen geyser. Molly Joyce’s Bite the Dust is based on the process of rapid erosion found in Badlands National Park. Teewinot, composed by Betsey Biggs, presents a sonic time lapse of Teewinot Mountain, within Grand Teton National Park. Patrick Harlin’s Wind Cave, based on Wind Cave National Park, captures the structure of the caves in addition to the emotional aspects of exploring them. Rob Deemer’s Firehole Mists is based on the beautiful morning mist of Yellowstone National Park’s Firehole River. Heat curls up from the dust, composed by Jeff Herriott, is based on the endlessly emerging details that reveal themselves when taking in the enormous landscapes of Grand Teton National Park. Paula Matthusen’s on the analogical understandings of space treats the caves in Wind Cave National Park as synthesizers, combining these sounds with the ensemble. Finally, Phil Kline’s Dawn Chorus is based on the bird song of the Western Meadowlark, common to Badlands National Park. In addition, music composed for the ensemble’s 2014 southwest national parks tour will be performed, composed by Ashley Stanley, Bill Ryan, David Biedenbender, and Thad Anderson.
The ensemble will present this program over fourteen days and 3,500 miles in summer 2016. Performed at both indoor and outdoor venues, they will perform at four national parks—Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. In addition, they will be performing at the dramatic new public library in Billings, MT. All concerts are free and open to the public, and for ALL ages.