1. What is ClimateMusic?
ClimateMusic is original music that is inspired by climate science. Our intent is to create music that is engaging and that people will want to listen to, while providing insights about the urgency of action on climate change. It is not merely the sonification of data sets, nor is it merely a composer’s subjective interpretation of what climate change might “sound like” without referencing any data sets.
2. Why Climate Music?
For many people, the concept of climate change is difficult to comprehend. The climate is a complex and dynamic system that operates across multiple time scales and is influenced by many variables. Most people experience what they think of as “the climate” on a daily basis as weather and don’t have the perspective to place in context subtle and not so subtle changes that are taking place over time. As an analogy for climate, however, music is familiar and accessible, and consequently is much easier to relate to within the context of human experience and understanding.
3. How “scientific” is your music?
ClimateMusic is science-inspired art, not art-inspired science. It is the result of a creative process between composers and a science team that together determine how to translate insights of climate science into musical elements within the context of a larger score. Some features of the music are guided directly by data in various ways throughout the piece. Other elements are less constrained, allowing the composer to craft a compelling musical arc that reflects a unique artistic understanding of the scientific story behind the data. Consequently, there is a human element in the music that is not strictly “scientific”. Visual animations support the music, providing a direct reference to the underlying scientific data. Moreover, each performance is coupled with a post-concert public forum during which our audiences have the opportunity to engage with our scientists and artists about the interpretation of the music and how it relates to the science.
4. What are your data sources?
The data sets for “Climate”, by composer Erik Ian Walker, are from simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM), an open model that has been used extensively in national and international assessments of climate change. CESM is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Energy. Please visit http://www2.cesm.ucar.edu for additional information. For future compositions we may use other sources.
5. Are your performances appropriate for children?
Due to the serious nature of the underlying topic, we feel that ClimateMusic is most appropriate for adults and youths 12 years and older. We advise parental discretion for children younger than 12 years.
6. Why don’t you post any recordings of your music on your website or on Facebook?
ClimateMusic is not intended to be “stand alone” music. The visual references and the post-concert public forums that we integrate into every performance are critical elements that provide a necessary context for the music. We are in the process of completing videos that will be posted on this site.
7. Can you perform at my school, church, company, or event?
Please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation. Please allow sufficient time for us to fit your group within our performance calendar, i.e., ideally the conversation should start several months in advance of the event. Due to our limited resources, we are unable to accept all inquiries at this time. Please note also that we operate on a cost-recovery basis.
8. Are you planning performances outside of the San Francisco Bay Area?
Yes, in 2018 we staged our first international performance, in Mexico City, and are actively building the capacity that will allow us to work with artists across the U.S. and internationally.
9. How are you funded?
We are a non-profit organization that has received funding from individual benefactors, a crowd-sourcing campaign, and corporate and foundation grants. We welcome and are actively seeking additional financial support. Please visit the “support us” page on this website for additional information and a link to make donations.
10. How can I support your work?
We gratefully accept donations on the “support us” page of this website. We are actively seeking sponsors for performances, grants to allow us to help us reach diverse audiences, etc. You can also support the project by purchasing climate art from our webstore on this site.
11. How can I get involved?
If you are a composer, musician, or have special technical or other skills that you would like to contribute, please send a note to email@example.com We also actively recruit student interns and adult volunteers.