Artists are hardly strangers to working in the wilderness but this project made that a requirement. Student performers from Allendale, Michigan - home to the ever-enterprising Grand Valley State University (GVSU) New Music Ensemble - and fearless composers from across the nation, went back-a-bush to listen, explore, and respond to some of our great environmental treasures. "In 2014 we started an ongoing project in which we commissioned composers to respond to our national parks. We then travelled to these parks and performed the music in the lands that inspired it. To date we have commissioned twenty composers and performed in fourteen national parks. This album is a collection of eleven of those works, as diverse and engaging as the parks they were based on: Arches, Badlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Teton, Wind Cave, and Yellowstone. The music is deeply personal to the composers, who were each commissioned because of their strong connections to our natural environment. With performances in amphitheaters, visitor centers, lodges, and even deep in the wilderness, this music has reached thousands of park visitors and illustrated how incredible landscapes can impact creative artists." - Bill Ryan, Director The intrepid artists on this album responded in various ways to their park experiences; from being awestruck by the silence and grandeur, to the geological transformations, misty rivers, bird song, "perfect mountainousness," stargazing through rock formations, the resonance of caves, a "sonic time-lapse of the history of this land," and a close encounter with a bear. The range of accomplished composers also includes two former ensemble members, demonstrating the fertile breeding ground of Michigan as well as the wealth of creative resources across the land. Based in Allendale, Michigan, the New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University promotes the music of our time through commissions, tours, recordings, educational events, workshops, and videos.