Deseret News: Utah’s national parks inspired this classical music piece, but few Utahns know about it. The Utah Symphony hopes to change that

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is paradise.

That’s what Thierry Fischer, music director of the Utah Symphony, has come to believe after seven years of living here. But 40 years before the Swiss conductor had this realization, there was French composer Olivier Messiaen, who created a 12-movement orchestral work out of the red rocks of Bryce Canyon and the landscape of Zion National Park.

Titled “Des Canyons aux etoiles” (“From the Canyons to the Stars”), the large piece — a 90 to 100-minute performance when played in its entirety — was inspired by Messiaen’s visit to southern Utah in the 1970s. But to Fischer’s dismay, while the piece is popular in Europe, it is largely unknown in Utah and the United States at large.

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