Zion National Park
The final stop on Messiaen’s journey from the canyons to the stars, Zion Park and the Celestial City, represented for him a symbol of Paradise. The variegated colored canyon walls of Zion and Bryce Canyons inspired harmonic structures through his powerful sense of synesthesia, with colors creating vivid harmonies in his inner ear. Birdsong, collected and notated in the spring, added melodic structure to this extravagant symphonic journey. I spent the month of April 2015 in this region, seeking to capture the “walls of rose, white, mauve, red, black, the green trees, and the limpid river of Zion Park,” culminating in the celestial blue of the desert sky.