From The Canyons To The Stars

Messiaen’s Des Canyons Aux Étoiles
for the 21st Century

A behind the scenes interview and tech rehearsal preview.

The making of a visual symphony for OLIVIER MESSIAEN’S Des canyons aux étoiles…

When invited by conductor David Robertson to create images to accompany performances of Olivier Messiaen’s monumental symphonic work “Des Canyons aux Étoiles,” I was intrigued by the possibility of exploring the language of landscape imagery in conjunction with the emotional power of music.  Messiaen composed this work to celebrate the magnificent landscapes of southwestern Utah as well as the bicentennial of the United States, with the idea of including the geology, birds, colors, and biblical associations of the landscape in his musical language.  This production takes that music as the starting point and returns to the landscapes of inspiration, presenting them in a staging that encloses the orchestra within a halo of colored lights and a backdrop of scenes from these landscapes that move and interact with the music.

Deborah O’Grady, photographer/director
Seth Reiser, set/lighting design
Adam Larsen, video design consultant
Jon Else, cinematography/time lapse photography
Cath Brittan, production manager

COMMISSIONED BY the St. Louis Symphony, Cal Performances, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Sydney Symphony, Washington DC Performing Arts

Inquiries regarding booking this production may be directed to Deborah O’Grady at