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.