The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is returning to the national stage to celebrate the National Park system. With their third funding award from the National Endowment for the Arts, six acclaimed composers were commissioned to create music that will be performed within the parks during the ensemble’s 16-day, 3,100-mile summer tour. The music reflects the immense diversity of the parks while capturing their breathtaking and inspiring landscapes and wildlife. Paola Prestini’s Cuyahoga Breathing takes the idea of time passing and breathing in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, forming a layered and cinematic composition. Zoe Keating’s Summer on Mount Desert Island is her reflection on family summer vacations in Acadia National Park. The Blue of Distance, composed by Pascal Le Boeuf, was inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains as seen from various overlooks throughout Shenandoah National Park. Shara Nova’s A Rhododendron’s Bloom, based on Great Smoky Mountain National Park, pays homage to her family’s connections to the area. Eve Beglarian’s Not My Home captures Mammoth Cave National Park and its effect on the landscape above and below ground for many miles around, through influences of Bill Monroe and Monteverdi. Dune, by Marc Mellits, was inspired by the rolling, shifting, and endless sand dunes of Indiana Dunes National Park. In addition, an arrangement of music by Pacific Northwest filmmaker, YouTuber, ultrarunner and composer Ethan Newberry will be performed, along with a fun composition from Niko Schroeder that tells the story of a friendly bear encounter in Yellowstone National Park, and Ashley Stanley's ethereal composition inspired y the night skies of Arches National Park.
The ensemble presents this program over a sixteen day, 3,100 mile driving tour June 26-July 11, 2021. They will present outdoor concerts at six national parks—Cuyahoga Valley, Acadia, Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountain, Mammoth Cave, and Indiana Dunes. All concerts are free and open to the public, and appropriate for ALL ages!