Ecomusics 2014 Brings World-Renowned Musicians and Scholars to UNC Asheville, Oct. 2-6


Concerts by Paul Winter, The Crossroads Project, and 99 Percussionists to Highlight Global Ecomusicologies Conference

NOTE: Some events have been moved to different venues/times. For complete and updated information, visit

Musicians, scholars and activists from around the nation and abroad will gather at UNC Asheville Oct. 2-6 for Ecomusics & Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues – five days of concerts and workshops connecting music and ecological awareness.

Music performances will be held at UNC Asheville’s indoor and outdoor spaces and extend to off-campus music venues. Scholars from 26 U.S. states, Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom and Australia will contribute to workshops that comprise the third annual global Ecomusicologies conference. Prior conferences were held in Brisbane, Australia (2013) and New Orleans (2012).

“Dialogues – verbal, musical and ecological – are keys to our interconnected world,” said William Bares, conference organizer, jazz pianist, and UNC Asheville assistant professor of music. “Music reaches people on the emotional level and can help us ‘feel’ connections to each other and to the larger environment.”

“Hosting this international conference allows UNC Asheville to showcase and celebrate transdisciplinary sustainability scholarship, practice and activism,” said Sonia Marcus, UNC Asheville director of sustainability. “It will be the centerpiece of the university’s Fall Greenfest highlighting campus sustainability efforts.”

Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies 2014’s first day will be highlighted by The Crossroads Project – a collaboration between the Fry Street Quartet and physicist Robert Davies of Utah State University, who focuses on communicating the science of climate change, energy and sustainability. The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 at UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium.

Seven-time Grammy Award winner Paul Winter, whose pioneering compositions incorporating recordings of whales and wolves raised awareness about endangered species, will present The Music of Humans and Other Species at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in West Asheville at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3.

Outdoor music will envelop UNC Asheville’s campus at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 when 99 percussionists led by Andy Bliss and the nief-norf Project perform Inuksuit by composer John Luther Adams, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music.

Some events are free and open to the public. Conference registration is $125 for the public, $75 for students and $30 for UNC Asheville students, and includes admission to all concerts, workshops and panels. Tickets to individual concerts are also available. Registration, tickets and information are available at

Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues is co-sponsored by many UNC Asheville programs and offices, LEAF, the Dan Lucas Memorial Fund, The Fresh Market, Asheville Area Arts Council, the Ecocriticism Study Group of the American Musicological Society, and the Ecomusicology Special Interest Group of the Society for Ethnomusicology.


The Crossroads Project – an artistic and scientific expression of humanity at a crossroads of environmental risks and responses. The Fry Street Quartet joins with physicist and educator Robert Davies in an evocative performance combining music, information, imagery and a dash of theater. Thursday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m., Lipinsky Auditorium, $22 general admission; $8 students; free for UNC Asheville students.

Paul Winter – an evening of solos, duets, and stories from the acclaimed jazz musician and winner of seven Grammy Awards. Paul Winter first began recording whale songs and responding in kind as part of a Greenpeace ocean voyage. He will perform and share his experience of recording in the wild as he presents The Music of Humans and Other Species. Friday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m., Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, 743 Haywood Rd., West Asheville. $30 at the door; $25 in advance; $15 students.

John Luther Adams’ Inuksuitenveloping UNC Asheville’s outdoor spaces with music from 99 percussionists. Composer Adams, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music, creates works inspired by nature, especially the landscapes of Alaska he has worked to defend and conserve. Inuksuit, written to be performed outdoors, will be played by Andy Bliss and the nief-norf Project, joined by dozens of area percussionists on a vast array of instruments. Saturday, Oct. 4, 12:30 p.m., UNC Asheville Quad, free and open to the public.

Roy "Futureman" Wooten and Wayne Kirby Present the Ecomusics Keynote Lecture/Workshop – an interactive demonstration where the audience will help generate rhythms based on approximate ratios found in nature. Wooten, a five-time Grammy Award winner with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, has developed his own electronic instruments based on the golden ratio and the periodic table of elements. Kirby, bassist and UNC Asheville professor of music, has graced the bands of many network TV programs. Saturday, Oct. 4, 3:30 p.m., Lipinsky Hall room 018, free and open to the public.

Ecomusics Showcase – an evening of music and soundscapes in response to nature performed on acoustic instruments, electronics and voice. Works include compositions by James Anthony Owen, Nova Pon, Phillip Bimstein, Eric Angus, Matthew Burtner and Shane Perlowin. Saturday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m., The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Rd., West Asheville. $10 general admission; $5 students.

Invisible: Time Constraintsan audio installation performance described by its creator as a “reverse engineered folk science daydream.” Using a combination of electronics, bamboo, water, a piano, drums, a repurposed clothes dryer and video projection, Mark Dixon produces a musical and sensory experience in four movements. Dixon’s music collective, Invisible, has toured regionally and arrives in the Lipinsky Auditorium Atrium at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5. Free and open to the public.

The Mast: Tidal – Inspired by the Hudson River, Tidal is a high-energy performance featuring vocals, electronics, percussion, beats, and ancient instruments. The Mast, a duo of vocalist/guitarist Haleh Gafori and percussionist/beatsmith Matt Kilmer, debuted Tidal at New York City’s Lincoln Center last June. The piece unites the electronic dance pulses of the duo’s latest album, Pleasure Island, with the more organic acoustic sounds of their 2011 recording, Wild Poppies. UNC Asheville’s Ecomusic Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble will open the program. Sunday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, 743 Haywood Rd., West Asheville. $10 general admission; $5 students.


Musicwood – a clash of cultures, a political thriller with music at its heart and songs performed by Kaki King, Yo La Tengo, The Antlers and Steve Earle. This New York Times critics pick documents the attempt by the most famous guitar-makers in the world to intercede with Native American loggers in an attempt to save a primeval forest. A panel discussion follows the screening. Saturday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m., location TBA, free and open to the public.


Geothermophone – a translucent globe that displays Earth’s changing temperature visually and with sound. By Egg Syntax, this installation debuted at Moogfest 2014. Oct. 2-6, Lipinsky Hall Atrium, free and open to the public.


Sound-Centered Being, Knowing and Acting to Empower Communities, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, Lipinsky Auditorium

  • Leah Barclay, Australian composer, sound artist and president of The Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology. She is artistic director of Biosphere Soundscapes, a large-scale interdisciplinary art project connecting the soundscapes of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves across the world. 
  • Jeff Todd Titon, author or editor of seven books on musical traditions, also writes a well-read blog, Sustainable Music, and theorizes about ways music can be thought of as a biocultural resource, applying insights from ecology and organic gardening. Professor emeritus of music at Brown University, Titon will hold the Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science at East Tennessee State University in 2015-16.

Making Music with, for and at Animals, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4, Lipinsky Auditorium

  • Mark Pedelty is the author of Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA (University of Texas, 2004) and Ecomusicology: Rock, Folk and the Environment (Temple University Press, 2012), and is writing a book about environmentalist music and movements in the Pacific Northwest. He is associate professor of communication studies at the University of Minnesota.
  • David Rothenberg, an accomplished jazz clarinetist and composer, has written widely on music made by other species. His Bug Music (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) probes the possibility that humans first got ideas of rhythm, synchronicity and dance from insects. His prior books, Why Birds Sing (Basic Books, 2005) and Thousand Mile Song (Basic Books, 2008), the latter about whale songs, were both adapted as television documentaries in Europe. Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Ecology and Aural Technoculture, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5, Humanities Lecture Hall

  • David Cecchetto is assistant professor in the Department of Humanities at York University in Toronto, Canada, specializing in critical digital theory, sound and experimental media. His monograph, Humanesis: Sound and Technological Posthumanism, was released in 2013 on the Posthumanities series of the University of Minnesota Press. As a sound artist, he has presented his works in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia.
  • Garth Paine is associate professor in interactive sound and digital media at Arizona State University. His work has been instrumental to building an online database of practice in electronic music, opening up discussion of a taxonomy for classification of new instruments. Payne is a member of the editorial board of Organised Sound, and a founding member of the Electronic Music Foundation and of Ear to the Earth, a worldwide network for environmental sound art.

Keynote panels and workshops take place on UNC Asheville’s campus and are open to conference registrants. The full workshop program is available at

For more information, contact William Bares at 828.250.2312 or