Jazz Clarinetist Who Makes Music With Whales, Birds, Bugs to Visit the College

September 17, 2019

Event Details

Concert: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Bucksbaum Center, Sebring-Lewis Hall
Roundtable: 4:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Bucksbaum Center, Room 252
Excursion: 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Arbor Lake, Grinnell

Author and composer David Rothenberg, a jazz clarinetist renowned for making music with whales, birds, and bugs, will visit the College from Sept. 19–21.

Rothenberg’s first event will be a solo concert titled “Whale Bird Bug” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in Sebring-Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

The performance will include recorded sound and electronic materials. Rothenberg will interweave his own compositions and improvisations with recorded sounds drawn from bird songs, whale songs, and insect sounds. With interspersed comments, he will share with the audience the insights he has gained from producing celebrated books about animal music.

On Friday, Sept. 20, Rothenberg will participate in a campus roundtable discussion and on Saturday, Sept. 21, he will lead an excursion to listen to sounds of nature at Arbor Lake. All events, which are free and open to the public, reflect the College’s commitment to supporting the arts and sciences while bringing together and celebrating diverse perspectives and global understanding.

Rothenberg is the author of Why Birds Sing, which explores making music with birds and was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary. He also wrote Thousand Mile Song about his experiences making music with whales, which was made into a film for French television.

HIs book about insects and music, Bug Music, has been covered by The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, “PBS News Hour” and the “Radiolab” podcast. As a composer and jazz clarinetist, Rothenberg has 16 CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top 10 CDs of the year by Jazziz Magazine.

The roundtable discussion with faculty members is titled “Something Kindred Yet Beyond Us: Exploring Art and Music Outside the Human Realm.” The event will begin at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Bucksbaum Center, Room 252.

Participating in the discussion will be:

Rothenberg’s visit will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a 9 a.m. outing to explore the sounds of nature at Arbor Lake on the southwest edge of Grinnell. Participants will gather in the south parking lot at the lake. The excursion will include an encounter with underwater sound through the use of a hydrophone.

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