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David Robertson, conductor
Peter Henderson, piano
Deborah O'Grady, video artist
MESSIAEN Des canyons aux étoiles... (From the Canyons to the Stars...)
After a 1972 visit to Bryce Canyon and neighboring parks, French composer Olivier Messiaen set out to create an extraordinary musical creation capturing the vastness of National Parks in the American West. From the Canyons to the Stars…, a monumental work never performed in St. Louis, features intoxicating colors and beguiling rhythms alongside projected video and images of nature by visual artist Deborah O’Grady and insightful commentary led by Music Director, David Robertson. This awesome musical narrative is performed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.
Learn more about visual artist Deborah O’Grady and her inspiration in creating visual accompaniment to Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles…
Special thanks to Cal Performances for the production of this video.
Washington University in St. Louis
Excerpt from Messiaen Des canyons aux etoiles...
“Both Messiaen and Adams share the signature of an absolutely unique voice. The moment I hear their music, I recognize them, yet they always sound fresh. This will be exciting for me and our audiences!”
– Felicia Foland
“…the wonderful Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles...from the Canyons to the Stars…I first learned the solo horn movement in the Grand Canyon in 1982...I had brought the music along on my raft. After learning it, (sort of) I then recorded it on a cassette Walkman in a very resonant side canyon. Years later, on a whim, I sent the recording to Messiaen in Paris. To my amazement, his wife sent me back a beautiful letter in French saying they were touched by the idea of the music about canyons being played in the Grand Canyon. Then followed a critique of my performance, lol! I still have the letter and will show it to DR when we start rehearsing. Nothing like personal instructions from the composer!”
– Roger Kaza