The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is returning to the national stage to celebrate the National Park system. With their fourth funding award from the National Endowment for the Arts, acclaimed composers were commissioned to create music that will be performed within the parks during the ensemble’s 17-day, 4,500-mile summer tour. The music reflects the immense diversity of the parks while capturing their breathtaking and inspiring landscapes and wildlife.
Annika Socolofsky’s Sheer, with its pulsing adrenaline and spiraling colors and textures, is inspired by the sheer cliffs and sheer beauty of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. For Pamela Z’s Spirited Conversation, she combines wildlife recordings from Rocky Mountain National Park with the ensemble, who imitate the beautiful calls in a tapestry of sound. Blue True Dream of Sky, composed by Stephen Lias, was inspired by Great Basin National Park. During a visit to the park after emerging from the long isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is where the wonder of art, nature, and life was reawakened in him. Hannah Boissonneault’s Murmuring, based on Bryce Canyon National Park, recreates the floating, ethereal echo of the canyons along with the push and pull of the erosion that formed the incredible structures of the area. For Nate Bliton’s (re)generate, a solo musician uses the inspiration for the piece, the plants living in Canyonlands National Park, as the actual instrument that will be performed. For his work Lapse, Noah Braley imagined himself looking in wonderment atop Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park and pondering its unexplainable creation. Christian Glascock’s Reflection, Acceptance, Hope, is inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park's glowing red rocks at sunset, followed by the incredible star-filled night sky.
In addition, an arrangement of music by Pacific Northwest filmmaker, YouTuber, ultrarunner and composer Ethan Newberry will be performed, a hypnotic work by Ashley Stanley, based on the stars of Arches National Park, Dune by Marc Mellits, inspired by the rolling, shifting, and endless sand dunes of Indiana Dunes National Park, Connor Piotrzkowski's Five Peaks, is inspired by the Rocky Mountains, and Bill Ryan's Far Away, a look back home at Michigan's Grand River.
The ensemble presents this program over a seventeen-day, 4,500 mile driving tour July 3—19, 2022. They will present outdoor concerts at five national parks—Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Great Basin National Parks (plus concerts at general store, a brewery/food collective, and Dinosaur National Monument!) All concerts are free and open to the public, and appropriate for ALL ages!