Image by Weston MacKinnon


2019 • Symphony Orchestra • 9'

a rhapsodic, nature-inspired symphonic work
(optionally performed with film by former National Eminent Photographer Frank Lee Ruggles)

Image by Ashim D’Silva

Awards & Performances

Frank Lee Ruggles created Expedition to be screened over the live orchestra with new works by Jennifer Jolley & Lauren Spavelko. This video includes MIDI realizations.

Jennifer Jolley's Blue Glacier Decoy  underscores Part One: Monochrome (the black-and-white photography), at the start of the film.

Kéyah underscores Part Two: Spectrum (the color photography), beginning at 6'30.

Expedition — a film by Frank Lee Ruggles

Central Ohio Symphony


Central Ohio Symphony, Jaime Morales-Matos (conductor). April 27, 2019. Delaware, Ohio.


Program Note

Commissioned by the Central Ohio Symphony in honor of its 40th Anniversary, Kéyah invites listeners into a rhapsodic world to match Frank Lee Ruggles’s breathtaking photographs of America’s natural wonders. Kéyah is the Navajo word for “land,” which reflects our land’s history and the depth and breadth of Ruggles’s work.

Musically, these photos suggest a rich, diverse palette of sound with high contrast in color, texture, and mood. Melodies from individual instruments reflect the land’s distinct details, while the power of the full ensemble matches the sweeping grandeur of its magnificent scenes. I imagined many sounds and pictures as I wrote. Stirring animals. Birds in flight. Wind rustling grasses. Sand brushing over rock. Brilliant sunsets and shaded canyons. Ultimately, the musical story of Kéyah through America’s landscape is guided only by the listener’s imagination and Ruggles’s photos.