Gaia: Spirit of Earth (2017)
In the summer of 2017, I came across a wonderful documentary by a retired TV Journalist and filmmaker named Mike Leonard. The title of the film is “Awe,” as in, “awe-inspiring.” In it, Leonard travels to the Rocky Mountains to capture footage of the night sky, clear and free of city lights blurring the view of the stars. The documentary caught my attention through its unique mode of communication: Leonard wasn’t trying to inform, he was trying to instill in the viewer the feeling of awe. He often let the images speak for themselves, and what he captured was, indeed, awe-inspiring. I took that idea to heart, and tried to create music that inspires in every listener a feeling of amazement for the natural world. My piece, entitled “Gaia”—after the Greek personification of the Earth—is a vision of wonder and reverence that I feel at the overwhelming scale of nature: the vast beauty of the night sky, the rugged expanse of mountains, the power of a waterfall
This performance by the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Rotem Weinberg. The performance took place in Hill Auditorium, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in January, 2018.