Composer Stephen Lias

(Photo: Boulder Philharmonic)

Plenty of classical composers have turned to nature for inspiration. Composer Stephen Lias does, too. But his focus is a little more specific.

Lias has written more than a dozen compositions inspired by national parks. The list includes pieces about Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde national parks in Colorado, and about a dozen more around the U.S.

The Boulder Philharmonic on Saturday debuts his newest piece, “All the Songs That Nature Sings.” The piece takes its title from writing by Enos Mills, who’s often called the father of Rocky Mountain National Park.

After Saturday’s concert, the orchestra hits the road for Washington, D.C., to play the program again at the Kennedy Center  as part of SHIFT, a festival honoring innovative American orchestras.

Lias spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about his new composition, how he writes music about nature and how a trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas inspired a string of pieces about national parks.

Watch excerpts from “Gates of the Arctic,” a Lias piece the Boulder Philharmonic debuted in 2014: 

The Boulder Philharmonic performs "Gates of the Arctic" by composer Stephen Lias in 2014.