Non-Native Son

Mark Grey, a sound sculptor and award-winning composer originally from San Francisco, is living for and in his art. Literally.

The Phoenix Symphony composer-in-residence for the 2007-’08 season -- who has presented works in big-time venues like Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and London’s Barbican Centre -- moved to town specifically to bathe in ancient and modern inspirations. Says Grey, “I absolutely thrive being in Phoenix. I’ve been traveling to the Navajo Nation and the Four Corners area and camping in the desert. By doing so, I’m finally beginning to understand the facets of the Navajo culture.”

Grey will perform improvised soundscapes created by Grey and experimental electronic-music composer Raven Chacon, who constructs his own instruments. “Each residency week is focused on collaborating with Navajo artists and their art and how they present their people and themselves,” says Grey.

The performance acts as a teaser for Grey’s big shebang on February 7 and 9, 2008, when he presents his composition Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio at Symphony Hall. The 70-minute piece for large orchestra with 160 vocalists and solo baritone incorporates flowing poetry by librettist and ASU professor Dr. Laura Tohe, which aids in the contemporizing of ancient Navajo myths.

Fri., Nov. 2, 6-10 p.m., 2007