On the eve of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, here are some of the orchestras around the world doing their part to raise awareness about the climate crisis.
As the UK prepares to host the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, we shine the spotlight on brilliant classical musicians and ensembles from around the world, who use their voices and instruments to respond to the climate crisis.
Climate protection? Music to our ears!‘reads the Instagram bio of the Wandels’ Orchestra, or in English, the Orchestra of Change.
The orchestra is made up of musicians from Germany’s leading professional orchestras and its aim is to “tackle the climate crisis in extraordinary concert formats, using music to reach and inspire people”.
Recent events include the flash mob # 17TARGET, where musicians and orchestras from 17 German cities participated in a simultaneous flashmob in city centers, performing Beethoven’s play Ode to Joy, to draw attention to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
A new video on their YouTube channel, a performance by Schubert Trout quintet played by members of the ensemble’s partner orchestra, the Bremer Philharmoniker, is dedicated “to all scientists and participants at COP26”.
Orchestra for the Earth
Originally educated at the University of Oxford, Orchestra for the Earth brings together some of the UK’s finest young professional musicians and contemporary composers, with a commitment to ‘protect the world that their generation will inherit and to use music to motivate others to do the same ”.
Last year the orchestra made headlines performing Mozart’s work Serenade n ° 10 at Delabole Wind Farm to mark Earth Overshoot Day.
Read more: Orchestra performs Mozart under wind turbines to mark Earth Overshoot Day
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra
In 2019, the musicians of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg adapted Four Seasons to create the first concert that translated climate data into music using algorithms.
These data, collected from research institutes, environmental agencies and universities, have been used to illustrate the effects of climate change on musical arrangement, such as extreme weather conditions and the extinction of species of music. ‘birds and insects.
For example, movements Spring and Summer mingle with the disintegrations of the harmonic structure and the instrumental voices of the birds are silent.
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
A similar project was developed two years later by media campaign companies AKQA and Jung von Matt, which brought together scientists and orchestras to reinterpret Vivaldi’s original score.
The [Uncertain] Four Seasons has been published for all orchestras in the world, to predict what the seasons for each country will be like in 2050.
Launch with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in early 2021 in a room with Summer as “an anxiety-filled dream at a time when forest fires, food insecurity and other disasters will become more and more common”, some cities such as the play created for Shanghai have no music written, because it is predicted that the city will be underwater by 2050.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
In 2014, a surprise album on water and climate change topped the charts. The drop that contained the sea is a classic crossover album written by American composer Christopher Tin and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Best known for his artistic, film and video game compositions, Tin’s work premiered at Carnegie Hall, and the album then debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart.
The album, which is performed in 10 languages, is devoted to a drop of water passing from snow to a mountain stream, to the ocean and back to the clouds. Beautiful.
You probably didn’t expect this article to include a mention to Darude Sandstorm. Yes, this Sandstorm.
With its unique four-note repetitive melody, it has become something of a generational anthem, and this orchestra has capitalized on that.
Classical Trancelations is an orchestral group that combines the environment of raves, with classical music. The group worked with the original producer and the climate group Smart & Clean to create a full video linking the art of composing a collaborative symphony to solving the climate crisis, encouraging observers to ‘lead the change – the stage is yours’.
Created by award-winning composer and co-founder of the Multi-Story Orchestra Kate Whitley, and poet and director Laura Attridge, Our future in your hands created in September 2021.
The piece debuted by the London-based Multi-Story Orchestra with a choir of 100 local students from Peckham Schools at the multi-story Bold Tendencies car park, and was the orchestra’s first full-scale performance in two years, due to the pandemic.
The work was inspired by “the global seismic youth movement against climate change, championed by Greta Thunberg”.
Read more: Greta Thunberg’s powerful words on climate change set to music by a British composer
Bonn Beethoven Orchestra
Recognizing the “power of music to break down barriers and build bridges between communities,” the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn was appointed the first UN Goodwill Ambassador on Climate Change in early 2021.
The orchestra has been tasked with helping communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.
“The work of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is a testament to the power of music to break down barriers and build bridges between communities,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “I am delighted that the Orchestra is committed to helping us in our work to create a more peaceful, inclusive and united world. “
Read more: Orchestra named first UN goodwill ambassador on climate change
And as a bonus … Elegy for the Arctic
Although not an orchestra, Einaudi was persuaded by Greenpeace in 2016 to be part of his campaign to save the Arctic.
In a video, the Italian composer performs his new composition Elegy for the Arctic on a specially constructed “iceberg” within 100m of a ruined glacier.
Watch the memorable moment below.
Read more: Einaudi plays piano on iceberg as arctic glacier collapses around him