The Great Basin National Park Foundation and the School of the Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno is thrilled to announce that Marko Bajzer, musician, composer and educator at California State University, East Bay, has been selected as the 2023 artist in the third annual Great Basin National Park artist-in-residence program.
This summer, from July 24 to Aug. 18, Bajzer will reside at Great Basin National Park, taking in the rugged and remote nature experience to influence his creative practice. During his residency, Bajzer plans to write a symphonic work that employs both an orchestra as well as sounds from the park itself to musically depict scenes from the Great Basin.
“The two main things that come to mind when I think of Great Basin National Park are the bristlecone pines steadfastly anchored onto the rocky slopes of the Snake Range and the awe-inspiring night sky, which I understand to be among the darkest in the country,” Bajzer said. “These are the two concepts which I hope to convey musically.”
Bajzer will be provided with a campsite and all the necessary supplies to enjoy the trip to the park, which is located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border. From the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak to the depths of Lehman Caves, Bajzer will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Basin.
“This residency will give me the mental space to work on this piece and give me time to obtain the recordings necessary to complete the work as well as soak in the atmosphere,” Bajzer said. “While there have been pieces written about other national parks, such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, it is time for a symphonic work to be written about Great Basin!”
“We can’t wait to greet Marko at the park this summer and we look forward, with great anticipation, to seeing the work he will produce as a result of the residency,” Tamara Scronce, Emerita Director School of the Arts, said.
Bajzer will present a program in the park open to the general public on the historical intersection of art, music and the National Park Service.
"With photography still in its infancy, painters and writers played an outsized role in the establishment of the NPS and many individual national parks,” Bajzer said. “In fact, many of the initial surveying expeditions in the late 1800s had a painter as part of the crew, whose works in turn inspired Congress to create many of the early parks. Conversely, nature and the national parks had a profound impact as a source of inspiration for many early 20th century American composers as they endeavored to forge a unique American identity in classical music.”
Upon completion of the residency, Bajzer will also engage in one public outreach program in his home community to share Great Basin National Park and the residency program with audiences beyond the park’s borders.