David Rothenberg has written and performed on the relationship between humanity and nature for many years. He is the author of Why Birds Sing, on making music with birds, also published in England, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Germany. It was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary. His following book, Thousand Mile Song, is on making music with whales. It was turned into a film for French television.
Other books include Sudden Music, Blue Cliff Record, Hand’s End, and Always the Mountains. His book on the evolution of beauty, and how art and science can be better intertwined, is Survival of the Beautiful, published by Bloomsbury in 2011. There have been nice reviews in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and the Telegraph.
His latest book on insects and music, along with a companion CD, was published in April 2013 by St. Martins Press under the title Bug Music. It has been covered in the New Yorker, the Wall St Journal, the New York Times, on PBS News Hour and on Radiolab. More videos and TV coverage can be found here. Additional reviews and podcasts can be found here. The CD of the same name can be found here. Find out where dubstep really comes from… bugstep!
Rothenberg is also a composer and jazz clarinetist, and he has nine CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top ten CDs by Jazziz Magazine in 1995. Other releases include Why Birds Sing and Whale Music. He invited many musical colleagues to join him on Whale Music Remixed, with contributions from noted electronic artists such as Scanner, DJ Spooky, Lukas Ligeti, Mira Calix, Ben Neill, and Robert Rich.
Rothenberg’s first CD on ECM Records, with pianist Marilyn Crispell, One Dark Night I Left My Silent House came out in May 2010. Le Monde called it “une petite miracle.” Svenske Dagbladet in Stockholm gave it six stars, its highest rating. The Guardian heard “the clarinet subtleties of Jimmy Giuffre and the tonal adventurousness of Joe Maneri.” All About Jazz heard “sublime depth and intuition.” Morgenbladet says we “make improvised music melodious and catchy.” Sueddeutsche Zeitung praises our “wonderful craft and subtlety.” BBC Music Magazine said “if these pieces were pre-composed they’d be categorised as chamber music of a high order.”
In 2011 Rothenberg released three new CDs. The first, a duet with keyboardist Lewis Porter, is Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast. Next is a duet with British electronic music wizard Scanner, called You Can’t Get There From Here. Back home in the Hudson Valley, Rothenberg produced a record of more popular music with his friends in Cold Spring, Painted Betty.
Rothenberg’s recent conversation with Laurie Anderson on animals and music at the Explorers Club is online here.
A recent concert he performed with Jaron Lanier in London can be viewed here.
Rothenberg collaborated with Tessa Farmer on an art installation based on seventeen year cicadas at the Science Gallery in Dublin which can be viewed here.
His performance of Chapter 79 of Moby Dick as part of the Big Read project is here.
The Radiolab story on Bug Music, including a fine review of all of Rothenberg’s music/nature collaborations, can be heard here.
Websites for each recent book: