Presented in partnership with the La Jolla Historical Society, we welcome composer, performer, and instrument-builder Cheryl E. Leonard for an evening of music that explores our natural world. Through musical soundscapes, Cheryl investigates how climate change is transforming environments and ecosystems in the remote polar regions and here at home in California. Leonard’s compositions combine sounds from natural-object instruments with field recordings of natural soundscapes. On stage she plays an array of amplified stones, wood, water, sand, seaweed, shells, feathers, and bones. Some objects are played “as is.” With others, Leonard has created one-of-a-kind musical sculptures. The unique voices of these unconventional instruments intertwine with carefully edited field recordings of oceans, streams, lakes, glaciers, storms, and wildlife.
Leonard will perform works from Antarctica: Music from the Ice, a series of compositions developed from her experiences on the Antarctic Peninsula in 2008-2009 as a grantee of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. She will also share music inspired by her 2011 residency in Svalbard, an archipelago in the High Arctic north of mainland Norway. Leonard’s polar works relate to melting tidewater glaciers, loss of sea ice, endangered wildlife, changes in weather patterns, and the threat of increased development in the far north and far south. Several California-themed works will also be played, including recent pieces about drought, sea level rise, and the loss of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada. Leonard’s live musical performance will be accompanied by videos from visual artists Rebecca Haseltine, Oona Stern, and Genevieve Swifte.
After the show, Leonard will be joined by scientists Sasha Gershunov and Art Miller for an audience Q&A followed by a wine and cheese reception.