The Spirit of the Dawn Chorus

Conserving the Pandemic Soundscape

With urban ambient sound quieted in our cities by COVID-19, many have reconnected to the pleasure of nature’s music. Together in our social distancing, we can hear the music of birds again. Through a collaboration of University of Toronto faculty and graduate students in music, wildlife biology, and ecology and religion, this project will collect recordings of the urban dawn chorus, taken from parks and backyards across the GTA. These recordings will be musically analyzed and transcribed, inspiring a new composition that reflects upon the pleasure of hearing birdsong.



Musically, the themes of COVID-19 and rediscovered biophany—displeasure and disconnection, pleasure and reconnection—will be explored and contrasted in the composition. An associated talk will explore the spiritual dimension of the pleasure of reconnecting with nature’s music. The project is executed in the hope that this renewed connection can be maintained and strengthened as we emerge from the pandemic. The project will provide participants the opportunity to employ their research in bioacoustics, composition, eco-spirituality and musical performance, towards a range of creative and academic outputs.



The project will start in June 2021

Soon we will be asking for your birdsong recording submissions

This project is supported by the Jackman Humanities Institute, Program for the Arts, 2021-2022

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Dawn Chorus Project