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Music and Ecology: An Evening of Performance and Discussion
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Environmental scientists and ecological artists are attuned to many of the intricacies of the present environmental crisis. They are simultaneously witnessing overwhelming loss, working on prevention and imagining ecstatic possibilities for a future that celebrates the gifts of the natural world. This event is a collaborative platform for these unique perspectives, exploring curiosities between the magical and the practical within landscape.

When: August 10, 2017
Doors open at 6 pm
Where: Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, California  94612
United States

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Please join us for this event that aims to bring people together to learn from, awaken, and influence one another. Throughout the evening there will be performances by musicians working at the intersection of sound, the arts, and ecology. A panel discussion exploring collaborative opportunity and possibility will be at the center of the eve, featuring several of the night’s performers in conversation with ecological restoration practitioners, scientists and artists.

Musical performances by Cheryl Leonard, Jorge Bachmann, The Dutton/Nishi-Smith/Otte Trio, and Secret Drum Band. Panelists include artist Elise Brewster, ecologist Ed West, conservation biologist Claire Kremen and the San Francisco Estuary’s cartographer Ruth Askevold.

6pm doors
6:30pm Act 1 - Dutton/Nishi-Smith/Otte Trio
7 Act 2 - Jorge Bachmann

7:45 pm presentation of panelists and panel discussion

9 Act 3 - Cheryl Leonard
9:30 Act 4 - Secret Drum Band

$10 Donation


Secret Drum Band is a percussion and noise group from Portland, OR, and their debut album, Dynamics, was released on XRAY Records this month. Driven by five drummers, each song also employs an array of affected vocals, guitar, and synthesizers from noise musicians, often mimicking sounds found in nature. The album’s eight tracks were written in response to locations in the Mojave Desert, logging sites in Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, and Hawai’i, where composer Lisa Schonberg’s entomology work has helped the native Hylaeus bees attain endangered species status.

Cheryl E. Leonard’s music finds its raw materials just about anywhere. From these diverse sources come works that embrace the spectrum of musical possibilities: improvised to composed, acoustic to electronic, diaphanous to bombastic, notes to noise. Over the last decade Cheryl has focused on investigating sounds, structures, and objects from the natural world. She is particularly interested in collaborating across artistic disciplines and developing site-specific works.

Jorge Bachmann is a media artist, experimental composer and curator based in San Francisco , USA. He is also a founder member of MEI.collectiv, a multi-disciplinary group of artists.

Working across a wide range of explorations, Bachmann's work is eclectic, going from subtle "musique concrete" soundscapes to analog synth minimalism. Since the early 1980's he has been exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life, collecting field recordings and creating soundscapes meant for deep listening. Bachmann AKA [ruidobello] has exhibited and performed in North America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and South America. In 2009 he performed his audio-visual piece, Coleoptera, at the 10th Francisco Electronic Music Festival. In recent years he has performed and improvised with the likes of Bryan Day, Michael Gendreau, Mason Jones and Takahiro Kawaguchi.

The Dutton/Nishi-Smith/Otte trio explores the group dynamic through both traditional and extended techniques on acoustic string instruments.

Violinist/composer Kristina Dutton works in a wide range of musical settings, moving freely between improvisation, new music, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Conservatory trained, she has performed on more than 30 albums of various genres, appeared with numerous orchestras, and a handful of internationally acclaimed rock groups. In recent years, she also works as a curator, director, and educator. Though her primary work has been in the arts, her background is a unique blend of study and experience in both the arts and natural sciences.

Kanoko Nishi-Smith is an artist currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her primary training is in classical piano performance, with a focus in Contemporary/New Music performance. Kanoko’s most recent interest is improvisational music making, both in a solo context and in collaborations with other artists, on piano as well as on her second instrument, koto (13, or 17-string Japanese zither). She approaches her explorations through various extended techniques in addition to more traditional techniques, widening the range of vocabularies on each instrument and enabling them to adapt to both musical and interdisciplinary situations.

Adria Otte creates music inspired from a diverse musical background that includes classical violin studies, rock bands, traditional Korean drumming, free improvisation and experimental electronic music. As a multi-instrumentalist, she has performed improvised and composed works on violin, electric guitar in rock bands, and live electronic music in her duo OMMO. As a sound designer and composer she has collaborated with performance artist Dohee Lee, NAKA Dance Theater, as well as video and visual artists.

Claire Kremen is Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an ecologist whose work focuses on understanding and characterizing the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and utilizing this information to develop conservation and sustainable management plans, considering both protected areas and the working lands matrix around them. Her current research focuses on exploring the ecological, social, and economic benefits, costs, and barriers to adoption of diversified farming systems, and on restoring pollination and pest control services in intensively farmed landscapes, using both predictive modeling and field studies. Her work reaches from theory to practice and includes hands-on conservation action such as, for example, the scientific design and establishment of a network of protected areas to protect Madagascar’s endemic flora and fauna. She has won numerous honors, including the prized MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her contributions to ecology, agriculture, and biodiversity and the J.S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Fellowship. She also co-directs the Center for Diversified Farming Systems.

Ruth Askevold is a Senior Project Manager at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, where she manages the Resilient Landscapes Program. She has over twenty years of experience in geographic information systems, remote sensing, and cartography. She is experienced in using historical maps and photographs to assist in visualizing the past, and designs historical ecology publications and educational material at SFEI. She has provided consultation and developed exhibit content for the Exploratorium and the Oakland Museum of California. She received her master's degree from San Francisco State University in Geography and Human Environmental Studies, where she specialized in geographic information systems and historical geography.

Elise Brewster, BREWSTER DESIGN ARTS, is a sculptor practicing in the field of art, landscape, architecture and design. Brewster was a founding instigator and lead researcher for the Historical Ecology Program of the San Francisco Estuary Institute providing regional science to shape planning and restoration. While there, she formed an art/science collaboration called STILLHERE to reveal the forgotten landscapes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Overtime, she developed expertise in solar site development having worked on the largest solar development [at its time] in Bavaria Germany with Landscape Architect Helmut Wartner. Then with Wartner, and Paul Kephart, RANA CREEK, she inspired the Light on Land approach for solar fields and tested this approach in the Carisso Plains: the largest field in the US, and other sites.

She has designed and built installations in Israel, Africa, Japan and Europe. Most recently, she was the Tinshop Artist in Residence: Breckenridge Colorado, where she created Blue River etched drinking glasses for the Breckenridge Water Division, illustrating the towns water supply. Her drawings, paintings and sculptures are in numerous private and public collections and publications.She is currently working on a film called THE BOATRIGHT about a woman re-generating a 47’ wooden sloop, dreaming of sailing into a resurrected ocean.

Dr. Ed West, West Ecosystem Analysis’s founder and President, has developed, led, and managed many complex interdisciplinary projects in wildlife ecology, natural resource management and conservation. Dr. Ed West’s areas of expertise include project design and management, ecology and management of rare, threatened and endangered species, single and multi-species conservation planning, and quantitative analysis. His technical specialties include ecological modeling, species adaptive capacity analysis, mitigation planning, bioacoustic surveys and monitoring, noise impact analysis, and animal behavior. Dr. West is widely published and has presented numerous papers on his work at national and international conferences.