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"Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language."

- Aldo Leopold


In a time of ever-increasing technological influence set against stark environmental shifts, this is a critical moment to pursue innovative approaches toward stewardship of the natural world.  Environmental education seeks to develop personal connections to nature that lead to positive action and change, fostered by a powerful sense of wonder for the earth.  Music carries a similar capacity for wonder and awe; songs that are rooted in landscape could be a powerful tool for encouraging environmental stewardship among music creators and listeners alike.


Iceland holds a unique position at this curious intersection of fields.  The country’s choral music is known for a characteristic Icelandic sound, attributed in large part to the culture’s deep ties to its distinctive and dominating landscape.  Glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, and seas, combined with long winter nights and summer days, inform a local musical voice.  It is also a practice steeped in tradition and honor of old sagas.  These songs provide an excellent framework for exploring the progressive potential for music making in environmental education.


This rich trove of music is however largely unknown outside Iceland.  Partnering with the Iceland University of the Arts, I hope to explore in-depth both the musical and environmental qualities of Icelandic choral music, and help share it with singing and outdoor communities in North America and beyond.  This will serve as the primary research for my doctoral dissertation in choral conducting at the University of Washington. 


My musical journey, like a mountain, has been shaped by glaciers and rivers, people and animals, and light.  I have not sought to separate music and the mountains, but have found that my experiences in both augment and strengthen each other.  They have provided a synergy in my life and a well of joy that I feel compelled to share with others.  Both music and nature have a way of teaching us to be a better, humbler, and more compassionate folk.

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