Thursday, May 24, 2018

New Music to Inspire Climate Awareness

The mission of the ClimateMusic Project is to educate, inspire, and enable diverse audiences to engage actively on climate change. Put another way, the organization seeks to present experiences for their audiences that will make climate science personal, rather than an objective compilation of data and interpretations of those data. To this end project participants include not only world-class scientists and technology visionaries but also composers, musicians, and artists.

As of this writing, two composers have been actively involved in the project. The first contributor was Erik Ian Walker, whose “Climate” is a 30-minute multimedia composition that provides musical accompaniment for the visualization of climate conditions over a 500-year period that reaches back to 1800 and projects forward, through two possible future scenarios, to 2300. Played in front of a projection of the animated visualization, the music is scored for a combo of both acoustic and electronic instruments with solo violin work written for Michèle Walther.

Next month will see the premiere of a new string quartet by the second composer to contribute to the project, Richard Festinger. The title of his piece is “Icarus in Flight.” The piece may be viewed as a chamber music tone poem, conceived to track the last 200 years of human drivers of climate change, including land use, fossil fuels, and population growth. The piece will be given its premiere performance by the members of the Telegraph Quartet: violinists Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, violist Pei-Ling Lin, and cellist Jeremiah Shaw:

Eric Chin, Jeremiah Shaw, Pei-Ling Lin, and Joseph Maile, members of the Telegraph Quartet in performance at Old First Presbyterian Church (from the Telegraph Quartet Gallery)

This performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9. The venue will be the Noe Valley Ministry, located in Noe Valley at 1021 Sanchez Street, just west of the 24th Street stop for the Church Street trolley and near the southeast corner of 23rd Street. General admission will be $25 with a $45 charge for reserved seating in the first three rows. Tickets are currently available in advance online from a Brown Paper Tickets event page. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

According to the ClimateMusic Project, this will be the only musical performance of the evening. The program will begin with an introduction by Dr. William Collins, Director of the Climate and Ecological Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There will also be time to engage with both the artists and the scientists behind the work, both before the music is played and afterwards at a closing reception.