Musicians and professors in the Department of Music at the University of Nevada, Reno will perform a collaborative musical evocation of the natural landscapes of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake on Wednesday, May 3, at 5 p.m. at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe’s Prim Library. Assistant Professor Aaron Hill will perform on the oboe over composed natural soundscapes from the musical mind of Associate Professor and Director of the Electro-Acoustic Composition Lab Jean-Paul Perrotte as part of the Talks at Tahoe speaker and performance series.
"The act of preparing and performing this piece has made me more aware of the sounds around me as I hike through the desert and forests. I'm listening to sound now just as much as I'm experiencing those landscapes with my eyes."
“Our performance is a remarkable instance in which an acoustic instrument like the oboe is the more artificial sound present, while the pre-recorded sounds originated mostly in the natural world,” Hill said. “The act of preparing and performing this piece has made me more aware of the sounds around me as I hike through the desert and forests. I'm listening to sound now just as much as I'm experiencing those landscapes with my eyes.”
This will be the third collaboration between Hill and Perrotte and offers attendees the unique experience of connecting to nature through music.
“Our crafts are so different from a technical standpoint,” Hill said. “I put my complete trust in Jean-Paul to assemble meaningful prescriptions of notation and pre-recorded sound. So much of our in-person time has involved discussion of how to portray imagery as meaningfully on the oboe as it is in the pre-recorded sound, and how we can notate our experiences so that future performances of the piece can translate the aesthetic ideas compellingly with only the benefit of recordings and paper scores.”
The beauty of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River watershed serves as inspiration for the musicians, as does the need to protect the delicate system.
“The bodies of water that define our region are as breathtakingly majestic as they are fragile and essential,” Hill said. “My 3-year-old already understands that we live here at the mercy of the sustained health of the Truckee River, and just yesterday he witnessed how differently the river flows from the added snow melt. Lake Tahoe has been the home of some of my most memorable scenic performances since moving here, especially at Sand Harbor with the lake visible behind the orchestra. Pyramid Lake is a place of such stillness that feels like the revealing end point of the impact of the choices we make, both individually and collectively, positively and negatively. As artists, we all have a duty to expand our collective belief in human potential, while also deepening our morality and sensitivity to the fact that our actions have consequences. The natural world is a perfect partner in this effort, and we're fortunate to be surrounded by so many forms of it.”
Hill and Perrotte will follow their performance, titled Sierra Lullabies, with a discussion about the piece.
“I hope this performance allows the audience to open their mind and to contemplate the beauty that surrounds them every day of their lives,” Perrotte said. “I am so grateful to be able to share this composition with the community at Lake Tahoe and to spend time on the wonderful Wayne L. Prim Campus at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe.”
The performance begins at 5 p.m. on the Prim Library mezzanine with a hosted reception to follow. Registration is requested for this free event.
The Talks at Tahoe speaker and performance series invites the Incline Village and surrounding communities to the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe Wayne L. Prim campus for engaging conversations and performances on topics relevant to our local region, nation and world.