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Have you attended a Music Planet event and would like to learn more about the research that informed it? Find your event below!

Opening Concert

Music Planet’s opening concert in January 2017, and its reprise in September, brought together some of the classical repertoire’s most beloved music and a presentation of cutting-edge climate research from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. If you attended either concert and would like to learn more about the research from either the opening talk or the slideshow, you can learn more here. And click here to see a video of September’s performance, complete with some of the slides so you can revisit the beautiful music and learn more about the research that informed the Music Planet performances.

New Music Week

For the fourth year running, the Music Centre’s New Music Week featured a weeklong celebration of musical exploration, inspiration and innovation. This year, Music Planet infused New Music Week with the latest insights from St Andrews researchers into how the soundscapes of whales and seals function, and how intertwined the sustainability of culture and landscape are in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Whether you attended just one or all of the concerts, read here to find out more about how environmental research at St Andrews informs New Music Week 2018; listen to music that local schoolchildren composed in response to whale research in the Sea Mammal Research Unit; and hear the howls of grey seals that inspired Emily Doolittle to write Conversation, which had its world premiere at the New Sounds of Nature concert.

Symphonic Nature

The St Andrews Chamber Orchestra put on a series of three concerts featuring Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony alongside Sibelius’ Third Symphony and Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides. This thought-provoking concert programme invited the audience to consider how the composition and performance of orchestral music can be both poetically descriptive of nature and analogous to life cycles and the vulnerability of ecosystems. With performances in St Andrews, Arran and Bute came three distinct opportunities to engage with the music of composers inspired by nature as well as the science behind understanding the functioning of marine ecosystems as human impact on the oceans increases. If you attended one of these concerts or simply want to learn more, read here about what makes an orchestra like an ecosystem and how this relates to marine mammal science at the University of St Andrews. Listen here to the illuminating preconcert discussion between conductors, scientists and orchestra players about how conducting an orchestra is (and isn’t) like managing an ecosystem.

St Andrews Chorus: Haydn’s The Seasons

Haydn’s The Seasons was written at a time when Enlightenment scientists, such as the father of the piece’s librettist Gottfried van Swieten, were committed to unveiling the hidden order that governed nature’s predictable patterns. Today, scientists such as those in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at St Andrews work to understand the unpredictability of climate change’s impact on familiar seasonal cycles. Read more about the intersection of music and science underlying the April 2018 St Andrews Chorus performance of Haydn’s masterpiece.

Byre Opera: Xerxes in the Garden

Music Planet brought together speakers from across the university and Byre Opera to speak on the topic of human relationships with the environment and the role of gardens in biodiversity. Audience members also got a chance to hear Tania-Holland Williams and Gregor Donnelly, director and designer of Byre Opera’s production of Handel’s Xerxes, talk about the ideas underpinning their interpretation of this little-performed opera. Read here to find out more about the speakers, whose topics ranged from tsunamis in the Tentsmuir to the geology of Hercules, and book your tickets to see Xerxes in St Andrews and Berwick-upon-Tweed.