'The most important thing I can do as a composer is listen to nature’s changing messages and pass them along,” said David Dunn last spring, talking about his trips to record the rustles of pine beetles. Those critters unwittingly became part of Dunn’s Driven Behaviors, which premieres at the “Ear to the Earth” festival this October. “Acoustic ecology” work like this has grown steadily since the seventies, albeit under the radar (or sonar). Among the highlights, which include an Iannis Xenakis work, the New Yorky projects stand out. Laurie Spiegel’s Ferals documents the “lives and travails of New York pigeons.” A sonic treatment will transform the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden into Glacier Bay National Park, the Madagascar rain forest, and the California coast—a work, like many here, with political overtones. “Environmental music and sound art are new and beautiful,” says composer Joel Chadabe, the festival’s founder. “But it also has a bite.”
The Ear to the Earth Festival, October 6 through 14; details at eartotheearth.org.