Monday, January 5, 2015

Ablation Zone in the San Francisco Tape Music Festival Jan 10th

The Marr Ice Piedmont, Anvers Island, Antarctica

This Saturday January 10th my Antarctic piece, Ablation Zone, will be played in the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, America's only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space. This year the festival features four distinct concerts of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 32 local and international composers. Hear members of the SF Tape Music Collective, along with guest composers, shape the sound live over a pristine surround system consisting of 16 high-end loudspeakers while the audience is seated in complete darkness. It's a unique opportunity to experience music forming - literally - around you.

My piece, Ablation Zone, is crafted from field recordings of the Marr Ice Piedmont (the massive glacier that enshrouds most of Anvers Island) plus sounds produced on Adélie penguin vertebrae and nesting stones. Like most glaciers along the Western Antarctica Peninsula, the Marr is shrinking, and behind Palmer Station the ice has retreated more than 1500 feet over the last 50 years. The "ablation zone" of a glacier is the area below a certain elevation where there is a net loss of ice mass due to melting, evaporation, sublimination, calving, wind scouring, and so forth. Within the Marr's ablation zone I collected field recordings of meltwater streams and crevasses full of icicles. In the ocean near the Marr's terminal ice cliffs I recorded icebergs and brash ice that it had jettisoned.

The Marr produced a beguiling array of unique sounds. Each meltwater stream bubbled, gurgled, or sputtered it's own rhythms and melodies, sometimes sounding like electronics or machinery. Icicles dripped the intricate layers of gamalan songs. Icebergs crackled and snapped like giant pop-rocks, or contained large cavities in which waves resonated. To my field recordings, full of motion and insistent energy, I added the subtle sound of polished penguin nesting stones rubbing together, and otherworldly voices produced by bowing Adélie penguin vertebrae.

For this show I won't be playing any instruments live, but I will be running the mixing board and shaping how my piece is dispersed amongst the 16 loudspeakers that surround the audience. It should be cool (pardon the pun please)!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Antarctic Call and Response Show Nov 18



Tomorrow I'll be giving an Antarctic talk and performing Antarctic music at the Emerald Tablet in North Beach, San Francisco. Come check it out!


TUESDAY NOVEMBER 18, 2014
7:30pm, $5-10 suggested donation


The Emerald Tablet
80 Fresno Street
San Francisco, CA


Call and Response
Cheryl E. Leonard speaks about her project Antarctica: Music from the Ice, and performs a short solo set. Plus a group improvisation by Sheila Bosco, Jesse Burson, Kristina Dutton and Cheryl Leonard.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Polar Oceans Multimedia Performance July 12


In just a few short weeks visual artist Oona Stern and I will perform four music/video pieces inspired by the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean in the Soundwave Festival in San Francisco. Two of the pieces, including one about walruses(!), will be world premieres. I'll be making music with amplified sand, rocks, kelp, penguin bones, and oyster shells, some of which are originally from the polar regions. Fabulous musician Phillip Greenlief will be joining me to play some new "Kelpinets" plus other found natural objects. Furthermore we will have a small iceberg on stage.  Don't miss this one!

Please note: Soundwave Festival events sometimes sell out so I recommend buying advance tickets for this show or arriving early on the day of the concert.



SATURDAY JULY 12, 2014
8pm, $15 general, $10 students/seniors/underemployed

Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street #109
San Francisco, CA 94103

THE ASTONISHING SEA - An audio-visual performance event by Cheryl E. Leonard and Oona Stern, Mem1 and Elia Vargas

Out beyond our sights and minds comes The Astonishing Sea. Special sound and music performances reveal hidden worlds happening on our water planet. Music duo Mem1 performs ‘Mascaret’, featuring one of North America’s few tidal bores where incoming tides travel against the river’s current. Sound artist Cheryl E. Leonard and visual artist Oona Stern with guest musician Philip Greenlief return from ‘The Polar Oceans’ to weave tales with sounds from natural-object instruments including bones, shells, rocks and kelp, interspersing field recordings and videos from the Arctic and Antarctic that reveal alarming climate change; and artist Elia Vargas conjures ‘Liquid Landscapes,’ a performance installation where audiences walk through projected mist and sound that meld the digital and the natural, and water and light, while confronting profound ideas about our future technological ecosystems in comparison to our natural world. Note: Guests are asked to bring a plant, to take part in ‘Liquid Landscapes.’

More info and advance tickets available at http://www.soundwavesf.com/6/july12/

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Concert, Lecture and Lab April 16-18 in Milwaukee


Next week I'm heading to Milwaukee to be a guest artist at the University of Wisconsin. I'll be doing a concert, giving a lecture/slideshow, and holding "lab" hours where you can try playing my instruments or bring your own found objects to experiment with. My performance will feature the premiere of a brand new video/music work about the thawing of the Arctic Ocean created in collaboration with visual artist (and fellow polar adventurer) Oona Stern.

Come on by if you are in the area. All three of these events are free!














WEDNESDAY APRIL 16, 2014
7 pm, free

Studio 254, Mitchell Hall
3203 N Downer Ave
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211


Polar Music Concert
Cheryl E. Leonard presents music and multimedia works inspired by polar environments and ecosystems. Leonard will play natural-object instruments made from shells, bones, kelp, driftwood, and stones, in combination with field recordings collected in Antarctica and Svalbard. The concert will include video/music works created in collaboration with visual artists Oona Stern (Brooklyn, NY) and Genevieve Swifte (Canberra, Australia).














 
THURSDAY APRIL 17, 2014
4-6 pm, free

American Geographical Society Library
3rd Floor, East Wing, UWM's Golda Meir Library
2220 E Hartford Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53211

Music from High Latitudes Lecture
Cheryl E. Leonard will share stories, images, sounds, and music from her polar music projects, discuss what its like to record audio at the ends of the earth, and demonstrate several of her instruments made with natural objects like penguin bones, shells, and rocks. Audience Q&A to follow.













   
FRIDAY APRIL 18, 2014
2-5 pm, free

Kenilworth Square Room 416
1925 E. Kenilworth Place

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Tinkerer's Lab
Come try your hand at making sounds with found objects! Cheryl E. Leonard will have an array of microphones and playing implements available for you to experiment with. Play around with underwater and contact microphones. Try bowing kitchen bowls or your desk lamp. Find out what happens when you amplify a rock and turn it up to 11. Bring your own materials to experiment with, or try out some of Cheryl's natural-object instruments, including ones made with penguin bones and shells from Antarctica.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Polar Music this Friday, January 10

This coming Friday, January 10th, I'll be performing a set of compositions inspired by climate change in the polar regions. The concert will include several of my Antarctic works as well as the premiere of a new piece for kelp flutes, water, Arctic stones, and recordings I made in my ship's portholes while sailing around Svalbard in 2011.


FRIDAY JANUARY 10, 2014
8pm, $10-$15 suggested donation

Turquoise Yantra Grotto
32 Turquoise Way
San Francisco, CA

Fire and Ice: New Music at Extreme Temperatures
Conceptual sound artist Todd Lerew presents a work of thermoacoustics on his quartz test tube organ. Cheryl E. Leonard performs music about climate change in the polar regions including pieces that explore shrinking sea ice, the collapse of Adélie penguin populations, changing weather patterns, and melting tidewater glaciers.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meridian Gallery Concert, Dec 11

My next performance featuring Antarctic compositions will be this coming Wednesday evening at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco...



WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013
7:30pm,
$10 general, $8 students/seniors


Meridian Gallery
535 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA


Meridian Music: Composers in Performance

Cheryl Leonard presents music and multimedia works inspired by environments and ecosystems in the polar regions. The evening will include the premiere of Ablation Zone, a new composition about Antarctica's melting glaciers and video/music collaborations with Oona Stern and Genevieve Swifte.



And, if you can't make the Meridian show, next month I'll be performing again in San Francisco...

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014
8pm, $10-15 suggested donation


Turquoise Yantra Grotto
32 Turquoise Way
San Francisco, CA


Fire and Ice: New Music at Extreme Temperatures
Conceptual sound artist Todd Lerew presents a work of thermoacoustics on his quartz test tube organ. Cheryl Leonard performs a set of music connected to climate change in the polar regions including pieces that explore shrinking sea ice, the collapse of Adélie penguin populations, changing weather patterns, and melting tidewater glaciers.




New Instrument

My latest Antarctic musical instrument, constructed out of driftwood, dried kelp, and penguin vertebrae, is titled Last Flight of the Adélies. To me, the elegant Adélie vertebrae looked like miniscule spaceships, or, seen from another angle, tiny white birds in flight. Thus I mounted the bones in a flock/formation, with swirly, swooping kelp tracing the flight paths of each individual bird/ship. The name of the instrument is a reference to the collapse of Adélie penguin colonies near Palmer Station, plus I like the idea of flightless (yes, I know they are phenomenal underwater "flyers") penguins returning to the sky.

The instrument will be amplified via a contact mic attached to the wood base and played by bowing, tapping, and rubbing the bones and kelp. It will make it's performance debut next week during my concert at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Last Flight of the Adélies in progress


The completed instrument