Hildegard Westerkamp returns to School of Sound

The composer, sound artist and acoustic ecologist, Hildegard Westerkamp, will make her second appearance at the School of Sound in April. She will speak about Environmental sound and soundscape composition in landscape and nature documentaries.

“I will discuss this overarching them in the context of my involvement with two films, both of which address landscapes in British Columbia threatened by fundamental changes in its land use: my first attempt from the 1980s in the film This Borrowed Land by Bonnie Kreps and my latest involvement with Koneline – Our Land Beautiful, by Nettie Wild.”  

Westerkamp’s work focuses on listening, environmental sound and acoustic ecology. She was a member of the original World Soundscape Project, working with R. Murray Schafer; has taught courses in Acoustic Communication at Simon Fraser University with Barry Truax; has worked with writers Norbert Ruebsaat and Sharon Thesen, with photographer Florence Debeugny and has conducted soundscape workshops and given concerts and lectures internationally. Some of her compositional work appears in US filmmaker Gus van Sant’s films Elephant and Last Days and most recently in Vancouver filmmaker Nettie Wild’s stunning film Koneline – Our Land Beautiful.

By focusing the ears’ attention to details in the acoustic environment, her compositional work draws attention to the act of listening itself and to the inner, hidden spaces of the environment we inhabit.

Her music has been commissioned by CBC Radio, Canada Pavilion at Expo ’86, Ars Electronica (Linz), Österreichischer Rundfunk, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Germany…. She received Honorable Mentions in competitions such as Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, Prix Italia, and the International Competition for Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, as well as a Recommendation for Broadcast from the International Music Council’s 4th International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music… Her articles have been published in Radio Rethink, Kunstforum, Musicworks, MusikTexte and a variety of books… For an extensive exploration into her compositional work see Andra McCartney’s Sounding Places: Situated Conversations through the Soundscape Work of Hildegard Westerkamp, York University, Toronto, 1999, and in the internet at: http://beatrouteproductions.com/Andradiss.pdf

In the Fall of 2014 her compositions were featured in Vancouver New Music’s Festival Sonic Topographies http://newmusic.org/sonic-topographies-vnm-festival-oct-16-19-2014/

In March of 2016 she was invited to Paris where she presented her 8-channel compositions at PRESENCES electronique in Paris: http://www.cdmc.asso.fr/en/actualites/agenda-musique-contemporaine/festival/presences-electronique-2016, and where she lectured, developed a soundwalk with students and presented her compositional work at the festival Transitions sonores at the Université 8 http://www.cdmc.asso.fr/fr/actualites/agenda-musique-contemporaine/festival/festival-transitions-sonores-2016.  

As part of Vancouver New Music’s yearly season she has coordinated and led Soundwalks since 2003, which in turn inspired the creation of The Vancouver Soundwalk Collective: https://www.facebook.com/vancouversoundwalkcollective/ She is a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE, see: www.wfae.net), and until recently, long-time co-editor of its journal Soundscape – The Journal of Acoustic Ecology.

For details check her website: http://www.sfu.ca/~westerka