Since 1968, Bernie Krause, soundscape ecologist, has recorded and archived the sounds of the natural world. Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Dian Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), he identified the concept of the acoustic niche hypothesis (ANH) as each organism establishes frequency and/or temporal bandwidth in order to vocalize unimpeded within a given habitat. During his former life as a professional studio musician, Krause occupied the Pete Seeger slot in the Weavers (1963), and with his late music partner, Paul Beaver, introduced the Moog synthesizer to pop music and film (1967). The team’s work can be heard on over 250 albums, including those of Van Morrison, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, George Harrison, the Doors, and 135 feature films, such as Apocalypse Now, Rosemary’s Baby, Shipping News, and Castaway.
Krause was a key figure in implementing natural soundscapes as a resource for the U. S. National Park Service (2001-4). In 2006, with support from US Fish & Wildlife, Google, Stanford (CCRMA), and several other institutions, he led three teams to capture the first biophonic baseline examples ever recorded in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
His books include, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places (LittleBrown), Voices of the Wild (Yale), Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World (Yale). Now transforming scientific data into contemporary art, the Cheltenham Music Festival premiered his new symphony composed with collaborator, Richard Blackford, featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2014. The Great Animal Orchestra: A Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, is based on Krause’s book and is the first to incorporate live natural soundscapes as a component of the orchestration. In the spring of 2015, he and Blackford composed a full-blown biophonic score commissioned by the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, based in San Francisco. In 2016, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, featured Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux as a 95 minute installation at their museum in Paris and have since acquired the piece for their permanent collection. Since its European premier, it has been shown in Milan, London, Shanghai, and Seoul. Its U. S. premier will occur at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA., 20 November 2021.
Krause lives with his wife, Katherine (Kat), and two cats, Colette and Raspail, in Sonoma, California.