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Hear the Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman

Visitors to the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London this summer will be able to hear the fascinating sounds of animals, birds and insects from around the world and explore nature’s music.

The Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman is a free sound installation designed by Bernie Krause, a leading expert in natural sound.

Created from his rare recordings of natural habitats in Borneo, Costa Rica, Sumatra and Zimbabwe, the installation reveals nature’s music and its 'orchestra' through Krause's distinctive spectrograms, offering a visual representation of what can be heard.

Music of the natural world

A day of live music featuring the Adriano Adewale Group and the Byron Wallen Trio and activities inspired by the natural world will launch The Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman on Sunday 27 July 2014. Additional activities will take place throughout the summer, designed for families to enjoy together and appreciate the natural world.

Bernie Krause says: "Each of these recordings represents an example of how natural soundscapes are organised. It is from this organisation that humans learned to mimic melody, rhythm and structure, all of which we factored into our music from the dawn of time. In other words, it was the animals that taught us to dance and sing. Here is the original score – the planet’s original folk music."

Janet Vitmayer, Director of the Horniman says: "We are delighted to offer our visitors a new perspective on our natural history and musical instrument collections through experiencing this soundscape of nature’s music from across the world. Artistic interventions have a great role to play in bringing collections to life and opening up new ways of looking at our world."

Bernie Krause

Before becoming an expert in the field of natural sound, Bernie Krause introduced the Moog (a type of synthesiser) to pop music, playing with the likes of Stevie Wonder as well as working extensively in Hollywood on films including Apocalypse Now.

However, his true passion lay with the natural world and for the last 40 years he has concentrated on recording ecological soundscapes. He has archived sounds of over 15,000 species, although sadly over half of these no longer exist because of human actions.

Bernie recently published the highly acclaimed book entitled The Great Animal Orchestra which explores the origins of music in the world’s wild places.

The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony composed by Richard Blackford, performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, receives its world premiere at the Cheltenham International Music Festival in July 2014.

The Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman is produced by sounduk, supportedusing public funding from Arts Council England, and with generous support from Bowers & Wilkins.