BY ALEXA RIVERA
The Music in Nature Symposium was an event hosted by Ramapo College on Thursday Feb. 28 in the Trustees Pavilion. The purpose of this symposium was to shed light on the connection between nature and music.
The symposium and concert was an independent study project conducted by student Adam Lazor.
Lazor is a music major and an Environmental studies minor, who spent a month in Costa Rica studying the sounds of cicadas and birds last summer.
When the symposium began Lazor took center stage and discussed some of his experiences.
“The experience was life-changing,” said Lazor. “Being able to live in a foreign country and study the environment has been a dream come true.”
Lazor, in collaboration with professors at Ramapo College not only wanted to showcase this unique project, but to share this wonderful intersection between music and nature.
“I had read a book called The Great Animal Orchestra by Bernie Krause,” said Lazor “and that really sparked my interest in the topic of sound ecology and the idea of music in nature.”
Featured speaker Michelle Nagai, has been discussing acoustic ecology, and the relationship between music and nature for over 15years.
Nagai holds an undergraduate degree with concentration in music composition and multi-media performance from Bennington College.
She is the founding member of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, and has a teaching certificate from the Deep Listening Institute.
“I want to start today by actually taking a step away from the title of this symposium music and nature and frame what I have to say around three themes that are little bit useful to me in terms of my own work,” said Nagai. “They are sound, place, and relationship.”
Another featured speaker at the symposium, David RothenBerg, author of Why Birds Sing appeared enthusiastic to discuss his contribution to Music in Nature. As well as an author, RothenBerg is a professor of Philosophy and Music at The New Jersey Institute of Technology.
His book Why Birds Sing was turned into a feature length documentary onBBCTV and discusses the making of music with birds.
“When I was visiting the National Aviary in Pittsburg wandering to my clarinet, and playing along with me was this one bird the white crested laughing thrush really got into it and responded,” said Rothernberg.
Rothenberg brought a piece of this unique collaboration toRamapoCollege. During his lecture on making music with insects, whales, and birds Rothenberg allowed the audience to hear some of the collaborations he composed.
After the speakers were finished with their presentations, Nagai lead a sound walk around campus for students who were interested in understanding in further detail how Nagai composes some of her pieces.
The conclusion of the symposium was an evening concert held in the Sharp Theater, which held performances by Rothenberg and Lazor to name a few. These performances related heavily back to the idea of creating music with nature.
“Being a music major and an environmental studies minor I think it was inevitable that I would be interested in intersecting the two.”
Click here for more information on Michelle Nagai
for further information on David Rothenberg click here