Composing the Canyon

Posted Apr 09, 2011 by Sara Stahl

In the years following World War I, American composers like Ferde Grofé (1892 – 1972) sought new models of composition to authentically capture the American musical identity. The Grand Canyon Suite (1931) by Grofé reflects a strain of American composition in the 1930's where orchestral works depicted scenes of American life in a modern world. Inspired by the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, Grofé paints a musical impression of a day in the canyon for the listener, translating the beauty of nature into a tangible art form. Mimicking the artistic style of notable artists of the 1920s-1940s, students will create five artistic representations illustrating the five movements by Grofé's symphonic composition, accompanied by a writing piece.

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