Nicholas Mathew on Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Etoiles
In Conversation with Shannon Jackson
Nicholas Mathew is a professor of music history at UC Berkeley whose work focuses on the relationships between music and politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: the place of music in political institutions, the role of music in public life, and the ways in which music constructs collective identity.
Shannon Jackson is associate vice chancellor for the arts and design at UC Berkeley and a professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. Her work focuses on relationships amongst performance, visual art, new media, and social change.
In this Big Ideas conversation, Nick Mathew discusses French composer Olivier Messiaen’s Des canyons aux etoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars) (1974) with Shannon Jackson. A large twelve-movement orchestral work notable for its use of modern instrument techniques, Des canyons aux etoiles is a tribute to the breathtaking beauty of the landscape of the American Southwest.