Stephen Lias

Stephen Lias
Based in Nacogdoches, TX

“We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.”
—Arthur O’Shaughnessy


Stephen Lias’s passion for wilderness and outdoor pursuits has led to a growing series of compositions about the national parks of the US. He has served as Artist-in-Residence at Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Denali, Glacier Bay, and Gates of the Arctic National Parks, and has written over a dozen park-related pieces that have been premiered in concerts and recitals in such places as Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Sydney, and Taiwan.

In 2014 his piece Glacier Bay was premiered by the East Texas Symphony, and Gates of the Arctic by the Boulder Philharmonic. Upcoming performances include the Shreveport Symphony, the Fairbanks Symphony, and the SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

He is the founder and leader of Alaska Geographic’s annual “Composing in the Wilderness” field seminar. His activities have been featured by National Parks Magazine, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, the Anchorage Daily News, NewMusicUSA, and Alaska Public Radio.

Audio Samples

Excerpt from Range of Light (2014) for saxophone and piano. Recorded by Nathan Nabb and James Pitts, 2014. Learn more about this piece.

“Written in 2014 for saxophonist Nathan Nabb, each of the four movements of this sonata are based on selected photographs of Yosemite National Park by Ansel Adams.”

Excerpt from Gates of the Arctic (2014) for orchestra. Live recording by the Boulder Philharmonic, 2014. Learn more about this piece.

“My 2012 residency at Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska consisted of a 10-day backpacking trip with park ranger Zak Richter as we followed the caribou migration in this vast northern wilderness. The resulting piece of music is a 14-minute orchestral piece that recounts various pivotal moments from the adventure including bears, mountains, snow, caribou, and (of course) lots and lots of hiking.”

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