The Soundtrack of the World

TUE, JAN 18, 2022 (1:03)

Bernie Krause, author, musician and naturalist has dedicated his life to recording the sounds of wild soundscapes on all seven continents, around the world. Krause captures sounds ranging from birdsong and the wind in the trees, to the tinier sounds of insects. Over the past 50 years, Krause has witnessed evidence of multiple environments being radically altered by human influence, and the resultant soundtracks or “biophonies” reflect chaotic alterations due to stress. Krause’s current installation, THE GREAT ANIMAL ORCHESTRA has crossed the Atlantic and is now on display at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, where it will remain till spring 2022. Krause discusses his animal narratives and explains why he has dedicated his life to this work.

+ BIO: Bernie Krause

Since 1968, Bernie Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small. Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Dian Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), he identified the concepts of the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis (ANH), and biophony the collective and organized acoustic output as each species establishes unique frequency and/or temporal bandwidth within a
given habitat. To round out the definitions of soundscape sources, Krause, with colleague, Stuart Gage, added the terms, geophony (non-biological natural sounds), and anthropophony (human-generated acoustic signals). Krause is also a founder of the new ecological discipline, soundscape ecology. In the world of fine art, Krause has produced over 50 natural soundscape CDs and designed interactive, non-repetitive environmental sound sculptures for museums and other public spaces worldwide. As a professional studio musician, Krause filled the late Pete Seeger slot in The Weavers during their final year (1963). With his late music partner, Paul Beaver, he helped introduce the Moog synthesizer to pop music and film on the West Coast in the mid-1960s. Aside from their own charted recordings, the team’s work can be heard on over 250 albums, including those of Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and David Byrne, George Harrison, the Doors, and 135 feature films released since 1967, including Apocalypse Now, Performance, Rosemary’s Baby, Shipping News, and Castaway.

Krause, who holds a PhD in Creative Arts with an internship in Bioacoustics, was a germane to introducing the concept of natural soundscapes as a resource for the U. S. National Park Service. His recent book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, was published by Little Brown/Hachette, March, 2012, and has been translated into eight languages. In July, 2014, the Cheltenham Music Festival premiered a new symphony by Richard Blackford and Krause featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The Great Animal Orchestra: A Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, is based on Krause’s book and is the first live performance piece to incorporate natural soundscapes as a component of the orchestration. (CD available on Nimbus Records.) In the spring of 2015, Biophony, a music score composed entirely of natural sounds, was commissioned, choreographed and premiered by the Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, an internationally-renowned corps based in San Francisco. His book, The Power of Tranquility in a Very Noisy World, was just published by LittleBrown/Hachette. Krause’s art and science exhibition, Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux, commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris, opened 1 July 2016. The piece has since been exhibited at the Seoul Museum of Art in S. Korea, Shanghai, China, and opened MoMA’s (NY) Triennale in Milan, 1 March 2019, and featured at London’s 180 The

Strand Gallery. It will have its U. S. premier at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA in November, 2021. In May, it opens in 2022 in Lille, France, followed by Sydney, Australia. In the Fall of 2022, it will have its West Coast premier at San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

Krause lives with his wife and partner, Katherine, in Sonoma, California.

+ BIO: Janey Winchell

Jane Winchell has been the director of PEM’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center since its founding in 2003. She started at PEM in 1992 as curator of the Natural History collection and led development of the museum’s original Art & Nature Center, as well as the newly revamped and expanded Center that opened in 2013. Winchell has curated more than 15 popular interactive/interdisciplinary shows for PEM, including XYZT: A Journey in 4 Dimensions (by Adrien M + Claire B), Lunar Attraction, Branching Out: Trees as Art, Eye Spy: Playing with Perception, Origami Now! and Wild Designs, an exhibition that explored bio-inspired art, design and architecture. Her most recent work includes Where the Questions Live: An Exploration of Humans in Nature by artist Wes Sam-Bruce. Winchell assisted with developing PEM’s newly restored Art & Nature Center Space: The Pod, which includes installations, art and creative expression that bring us closer to the nature right outside our door. She is also co-curator of The Great Animal Orchestra: Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, which opened November 20, 2021, Climate Action: Inspiring Change, opening April 2, 2022, and Down to the Bone: Edward Koren and Stephen Gorman, opening March 12, 2022 — both of which are part of PEM’s new Climate + Environment Initiative. This spring, she leads outdoor public art installation, Konstantin Dimopoulos: The Blue Trees.

Her research and writings have been published in scientific journals, technical memoranda, museum catalogs and the popular press. She holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and two graduate degrees: an M.S. in Science Communication and an M.A. in Biology, both from Boston University. Follow @janeywinchell on Instagram.

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