On a trip to the United States in the 1970s, French composer Olivier Messiaen fell in love with Bryce Canyon. Hiking into the red rock, listening to the Canyon's native birdsong and then looking up into the blue Utah skies inspired Messiaen to write a grand orchestral work, Des canyons aux étoiles.
Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, will conduct a rare performance of From the Canyons to the Stars on August 23 as part of this year's Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Because of the work's unusual sonic elements, Marc Neikrug, the Festival's Artistic Director, says he has spent two years planning for the Lensic Center performance.
In this longer version of the interview, Marc Neikrug discusses how From the Canyons to the Stars reflects Olivier Messiaen's "extraordinarily rich personality," and he explains the reasons this work is rarely performed.
A complete recording of Messiaen's "From the Canyons to the Stars":