MSU Broad Art Museum presents world premiere musical performances in "Songs From the Deep" virtual event

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MSU Broad Art Museum presents world premiere musical performances in "Songs From the Deep" virtual event
Jenny Kendler: The Long Goodbye installation view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, 2021. Photo: Eat Pomegranate Photography.

EAST LANSING, MI.- Artists Jenny Kendler and Andrew Bearnot join forces with musicians and composers Lyn Goeringer (Assistant Professor, MSU College of Music) and David Rothenberg (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Music, New Jersey Institute of Technology) for the virtual event “Songs From the Deep” on Friday, May 14 from 7–8:30pm. The event, which will take place on zoom, explores communication between humans and other species through music, and features two world premiere performances of new compositions from Goeringer and Rothenberg.

“This program underscores the power of interdisciplinary research and collaboration, especially in its capacity to stir wonder, curiosity, and engagement with the world around us,” said Steven L. Bridges, MSU Broad senior curator and director of curatorial affairs. “I am grateful to all of the artists involved for their contributions to what will be a truly unique, one-of-a-kind experience. How might the world be different if we were to more regularly sing with whales?”

The composers draw their inspiration from Kendler and Bearnot's collaborative work, Whale Bells, which is currently on view at the MSU Broad in the exhibition Jenny Kendler: The Long Goodbye. These sonic sculptures were inspired by humpback whales’ haunting songs. The clappers of the handblown glass bells are Miocene Epoch fossilized ear bones from an ancient species of rorqual whale, which are related to modern humpbacks.

"The opportunity to work with Lyn Goeringer, from MSU's College of Music, on a musical composition for our sonic sculptural work is the kind of collaboration artists dream about,” said artist Jenny Kendler. “The special relationship between the museum and the university, and the curatorial team's openness to cross-disciplinary work, really allows artists to expand their practices in unique and generative ways.”

During the event, discussion between the artists and composers will be woven together with the musical performances. Attendees will also be invited to engage in conversation, touching on themes of interdisciplinary and interspecies collaboration, environmental justice, and the language of music as a way to reach beyond the verbal.

“We're also very pleased to share that Whale Bells, alongside Lyn's score and performance, will become part of the museum's permanent collection,” said Kendler.

The MSU Broad Art Museum recently announced the acquisition of Whale Bells, and recordings of the performances will accompany the work as part of the museum’s permanent collection. This body of work was first commissioned by National Geographic, and a group of Whale Bells is now permanently installed on the ice-class polar vessel, Endurance.

“Songs From the Deep” is a free public event, and advanced registration is required.

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