Mt. Rushmore inspires symphony composer
The presidential faces of Mount Rushmore inspire a lot of emotions in those who visit the memorial. For world-renowned composer Michael Daugherty, the national monument stirred up more than just emotion – it served as the inspiration for his latest work – a symphony titled “Mount Rushmore.”
His Mount Rushmore-inspired piece will make its world premier later this week at the Pacific Symphony’s American Composers Festival in Orange County, California.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Daugherty – who grew up in Iowa – based this latest work on his memories of family vacations when he was a young boy. Like many, Daugherty’s family crammed into the car and made the road trip to South Dakota’s Black Hills to see the famous faces.
More recently, as Daugherty worked to compose the symphony, he again visited Mount Rushmore to research and gain more inspiration for his piece. He also traveled to the homes of Washington and Jefferson, visited the Gettysburg battlefield to gain insight on Lincoln and explored North and South Dakota to better understand Teddy Roosevelt and his love of the great outdoors.
In the LA Times article, Daugherty said, “Mount Rushmore is a complex icon of American history. It means a lot of different things to different people.”
“Mount Rushmore” was written to be performed simultaneously by both a large vocal chorus and instrumental orchestra. It is Daugherty’s first work created for both groups. The Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale, both of California, will be the first to perform the new piece.
Since “Mount Rushmore” doesn’t premier until later this week, I haven’t been able to hear the piece yet, but with today’s hi-tech access to so much different music, I’m sure it won’t be long until you’ll be able to hear it right in your own home.