"Audubon Sketches" Livestream

Audubon Sketches Photo
May 6, 2021 7:00 PM–8:00 PM


Audubon Sketches Poster

Composer: Chris Chandler
performed by:
American Wild Ensemble
Emlyn Johnson, Flute
Ellen Breakfield-Glick, Clarinet
Nikki LaBonte, Horn
Hanna Hurwitz, Violin
Molly Goldman, Viola
Daniel Ketter, Cello
Colleen Bernstein, Percussion
Chris Chandler, Field Recordings


"John James Audubon's seminal work, The Birds of America, sat on my parent's coffee table throughout my childhood. I can remember paging through it at a young age, and later, I remember admiring the level of detail and the lifelike qualities of his paintings. I wondered how he was able to capture the birds with such nuance and realism. I envisioned a painstaking process of trial and error involving numerous field visits to observe and sketch elusive birds, each one belonging to a family defined by a range of varied identifying markings.

Much like my image of Audubon's working method, Audubon Sketches employs a system of graphic and proportional notation that allows for a degree of variation in how the musical material is realized with each performance. It is an open duration work that gradually unfolds over six movements and reflects the expansiveness of the outdoor listening experience. Scored for a septet of winds, strings, percussion, and field recordings, Audubon Sketches also asks the musicians to perform on a variety of auxiliary instruments, some common (e.g., melodicas, woodblocks, shakers, etc.) and some drawn from natural landscapes (e.g., branches, pinecones, rocks, etc.). The strike of stones and the rustle of branches combine and crossfade with field recordings and instrumental textures, fusing to create an experience in the liminal space between soundscape and composition." - Prof. Chris Chandler

Snapshot of the score for Audubon Sketches:

Audubon Sketches Score example


Schenectady, NY 12308


Contact Person

Chris Chandler

Contact Email