Scientists, children and artists make trees audible at the Montreux Jazz Festival

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Montreux Jazz Festival, Petit Palais

Artist Christina Della Giustina took environmental data of trees in Valais as the basis for a musical composition which was realised with primary school children and can be heard at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The concert is part of the SNSF Agora project "State of the Art - Science and Art in Practice".

​On Saturday, 18 July 2015 at 3 p.m., the Montreux Jazz Festival is presenting a transdisciplinary collaboration between scientists, artists, musicians and primary school children which was realised in the context of the SNSF Agora project "State of the Art - Science and Art in Practice". The musical composition "we are trees - you are variations" is inspired by the environmental data of trees: stones scrape against each other, improvised drumming sets the pace, flutes and half full glasses hum and chirp. Tooting, and knocking, drumming and whistling; the sounds overlap, colours and shapes flow across a complex tapestry of sound. The structure is prescribed by the tree and the changes of the hydrological cycle in roots, stem and leaves through the year: heat and cold, sunny days and rainstorms find expression in the composition "we are trees - you are variations" by Christina Della Giustina.

The artist works with environmental data from trees, which are collected on experimental plots by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL in Valais. They are used to analyse the effects of climate change on the ecosystem of forests. The composition makes this data a sensual experience. The composition was adapted and rehearsed during a project week in spring 2015: children of the 4th grade at the primary school of Leuk-Susten (VS) experimented and made music in the company of scientists, musicians and artist Christina Della Giustina. For the concert at Montreux Jazz Festival they will be back together on stage. The event is organised by the artists-in-labs program of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

Musicians: Dieter Buchwalder (percussion), Désirée Senn (cello), René Thie (electronica), Barbara Meichtry (flute), Joëlle Metry (guitar) and the children of the 4th grade of the primary school of Leuk-Susten (VS).

Scientists: Andreas Rigling and Arthur Gessler, WSL