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home : features : features May 28, 2016

7/24/2012 9:58:00 AM
Composer to capture sound of Grand Canyon
Erik DeLuca to spend majority of his tenure as South Rim Artist in Residence collecting field recordings around Phantom Ranch and Indian Gardens
Self portrait of South Rim Artist-in-Residence Erik DeLuca at Crater Lake National Park. Submitted photo
Self portrait of South Rim Artist-in-Residence Erik DeLuca at Crater Lake National Park. Submitted photo
Rene Westbrook
South Rim Artist in Residence Coordinator

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Sound artist and composer Erik DeLuca is the South Rim artist in Residence through August 8. DeLuca uses field recordings and compositions to explore the natural resonances and rhythms of our planet.

DeLuca lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he studies and teaches at the University of Virginia. He has had artist-in-residence experiences at Crater Lake (OR), Wrangell-St. Elias (AK), Acadia (MA), North Cascades (WA), Isle Royale (MI), and recently experienced a deep-winter backcountry residency at Denali (AK).

In 2009, DeLuca received a Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Community Grant to compose an underwater soundscape piece that was released by Everglade Records in 2010. In 2012, renowned string quartet Voxare, saxophonist Michael Straus, and LSU'S Hamiruge Percussion Ensemble will premier his new works.

DeLuca has an extensive performance, exhibition and outreach resume, reaching national and international audiences. He said music and sound influences our perception of the world.

"At this juncture in time, music, among other things, needs to point to nature - the un-built spaces on our planet," he said. "One of my goals as a composer is to create music that points to these places. My weird compositional process involves extensive "fieldwork" where I steep myself in these places. Over time, my ears, like eyes acclimatizing to a dark space, gradually tune into the sounds and fluctuating systems that define these places - and a certain intimacy is gained."

This acclimatizing is a key component to DeLuca's compositional process and reinforces the music he composes.

"When I return home from "fieldwork" I will use the collected "artifacts" to render music that points to these places, amplifying their imperceptible resonances and rhythms," DeLuca said.

The composer is spending the bulk of his residency in the inner Canyon (through Aug. 1) at both Phantom Ranch and Indian Gardens. Watch for him along the trails as he collects field recordings of the unique Grand Canyon soundscape.

DeLuca will host an evening artist talk August 6 at 8 p.m. about his extended inner Canyon experience and his composition and field recording projects. He plans to share stories about his numerous other National Park Artist-in-Residence program adventures. The presentation will be held at McKee Amphitheater.

While in-residence, DeLuca will also be contributing to a project with Young Conservation Corp members, teaching his listening and recording techniques for their use in a video they're creating of their time at the Canyon.

All Artist-in-Residence programs are family friendly and free to the public.

You can read more about DeLuca's work at

The Artist-in-Residence Program at Grand Canyon National Park offers professional artists the opportunity to spend three weeks on either the North or South Rim of Grand Canyon in housing provided by the National Park Service. The North Rim AiR program is seasonal, with six residencies during the spring, summer, and fall. The South Rim AiR program is year-round, providing twelve artist opportunities.

For more information about the program visit

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