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Auksalaq: A Climate Change Opera, with Composer’s Talk on 'Musical Temporalities of Climate Change'

Monday, November 4, 2019
7:30 pm
Hall Auditorium

Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer, sound artist and eco-acoustician whose music and research explores embodiment, ecology, polytemporality and noise. In addition to being awarded first prize at the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), the 2011 IDEA Award, and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is Professor of Composition and Computer Technologies (CCT) at the University of Virginia, and Director of the environmental arts non-profit organization, EcoSono.

Burtner’s works have been performed at festivals and venues around the world, and commissioned by ensembles such as NOISE (USA), Integrales (Germany), Peak FreQuency (USA), MiN (Norway), Musikene (Spain), Spiza (Greece), CrossSound (Alaska), and others. His work has been supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation, and he created ecoacoustic music for a number of organizations including President Obama’s US State Department. His research in ecoacoustics has been featured by NASA’s Goddard Space Center, the American Geophysical Union, The Atlantic, Earther and the Center for Energy Studies in the Humanities (CENHS) at Rice University.

He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. A 2010/2011 Provost Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM, Burtner has also conducted long-term residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Phonos Foundation/Pompeu Fabra Universidad (Spain), Musikene (Spain), Cite des Arts (France), IRCAM/Centre Pompidou (France), and the University of Missouri Kansas City (USA). He studied composition, computer music, saxophone and philosophy at St. Johns College, Tulane University (BFA), Iannis Xenakis’s UPIC-Studios, the Peabody Institute/Johns Hopkins (MM), and Stanford University/CCRMA (DMA). Among published recordings for Parma/Ravello (US), DACO (Germany), The WIRE (UK), Innova (US), Summit (US) Centaur (US), EcoSono (US) and Euridice (Norway), his music is available on several solo albums: That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies, The Ceiling Floats Away, Glacier Music, NOISE plays Burtner, Auksalaq Live at the Philips Collection, MICE World Tour, Signal Ruins, Metasaxophone Colossus and Portals of Distortion.

As a technologist, Burtner develops systems for human-computer-environment interaction featured in his music. He invented the NOMADS telematic system, the MICE human-computer ensemble and orchestra, the Metasaxophone augmented instrument, and a number of ecoacoustic approaches.

The composer’s talk, “Musical Temporalities of Climate Change,” be appropriate for the series? ecoacoustics can imbed temporal processes from the natural world into music, allowing us to hear the systems that govern our environment as expressive musical forms. Pieces such as “Auksalaq” express human-scale interactive models of Earth’s changing climate, processes which are caused by humanity but fall outside the human sense of temporal perception. Burtner will explain how performance art models global human-nature interactions and how music offers rich methods for addressing complex temporalities through listening.

Matthew Burtner
Matthew Burtner
Department of Music, University of Virginia