Mike Bucy keeps the temp while he conducts local composer and musician Ben Holtz’s piece, Atmosphere with Radio Occultation, during Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Mike Bucy keeps the temp while he conducts local composer and musician Ben Holtz’s piece, Atmosphere with Radio Occultation, during Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Climate change concern crescendoes with collaborative concert

It’s a collaboration between local scientists, composers and musicians

Music and science will intersect as Juneau’s Con Brio Chamber Series prepares to perform “Climate Soundscapes,” a collaboration between Juneau Composers Consortium and Alaska climate scientists that blends climate research with original musical compositions to tell a different story about the rapid environmental changes happening across Alaska due to climate change.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
Sally Schlichting holds her piccolo mid-song during Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. She was joined by Jetta Whittaker on oboe, Eleni Levi, Lisa Ibias and Lindsay Clark on violins.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Sally Schlichting holds her piccolo mid-song during Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. She was joined by Jetta Whittaker on oboe, Eleni Levi, Lisa Ibias and Lindsay Clark on violins.

“It’s a way to bridge different communities, sectors and groups of people,” said Sally Schlichting, the artistic director and flutist. “It really focuses on the climate change happening within our state and region — glaciers receding, ice melting, atmospheric changes.”

The concert’s seven-piece set are all original works and will be performed by around 25 local musicians ranging from piccolo to tuba and violin to string bass. Schlichting said the idea for the concert, which will be performed Friday and Saturday, is to spark discussion, thought and action about the effects of climate change in a unique way that most people probably have not experienced before.

Mike Bucy writes on the score of local composer and musician Ben Holtz’s piece, Atmosphere with Radio Occultation, during the Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Mike Bucy writes on the score of local composer and musician Ben Holtz’s piece, Atmosphere with Radio Occultation, during the Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“I think people should come if they love music, and they should come if they also care about the climate and care about climate change,” she said. “We’re really trying to present a positive experience and foster greater understanding so that people can come and think about it and maybe be moved to action.”

Schlichting said Con Brio Chamber Series also invites audience members to a science talk by University of Alaska Fairbanks climate researchers preceding the Friday concert at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan lecture hall, along with an event at Amalga Distillery after the Saturday performance to chat with the scientists, composers and musicians.

Local musician Jetta Whittaker warms up her instrument during the Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Local musician Jetta Whittaker warms up her instrument during the Con Brio Chamber Series’ Tuesday evening rehearsal. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Kaja Brix, affiliate professor with the UAF International Arctic Research Center, said the idea has been years in the making, first starting as a collaboration between her and Mike Bucy, founder of the Juneau Composers and vocalist Marta Lastufka.

Brix said from a scientific perspective, oftentimes climate change data and science can be really complex and difficult to understand for the average person. She said the collaboration is an attempt to bridge the gap and use a unique way to make information more accessible to a wider audience and hopefully stimulate conversation.

“We wanted to create a collaboration between scientists and composers as a way to bridge the science world and music world and generate something that might touch people in a different way than just reading a graph on a paper does,” she said.

She said the concert would not have happened without collaboration between the very different groups, and she thinks climate action needs the same type of wide reaching collaboration for a positive change to happen.

“I think in Alaska, all of us care in some way about what is happening in our own community because of the way the climate is changing — we all see it and feel it — and the bottom line is the change in our climate impacts us in so many ways,” Brix said. “This is a chance to come together across worlds that might not connect in collaboration to create something amazing.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

Know & Go

What: Climate Soundscapes

When & Where: 7:30 p.m, Friday, Ḵunéix̱ Hídi Northern Light United Church, 400 W 11th St, Juneau, AK 99801 ; 2 p.m. Saturday, Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, 395 Whittier St, Juneau, AK 99801.There will also be a UAF science talk at 1:30 p.m. at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Lecture Hall preceding the Friday performance, Amalga Distillery event following the Saturday performance.

Admission: Pay as you can

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