Research seminar

Wednesday 13 January 2016, 4.00PM

Speaker: Dr Ann Warde (Fulbright Scholar, University of York)

Scientific Listening: Representing and Exploring Dynamic Animal Vocalization Soundscapes

Visiting Fulbright Scholar Ann Warde will give an “interim report” on her current project, which focuses on listening to sounds made by whales, elephants, and chimpanzees in ways that allow us to observe spatial patterns we might not otherwise be able to perceive. 

Through engaging the voices of these animals, this work also informs the making of experimental musical compositions, which intend to explore interconnections and to illuminate distinctions among the perceptual worlds through which we experience our shared surroundings. 

This project's combination of research and composition also perhaps provides an opportunity to consider distinctions between scientific research and musical experiment—a viewpoint that could reveal novel insights into how we might think about and undertake cross-disciplinary investigation.


Composer and researcher Ann Warde is a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar at York. She recently completed ten years as an analyst and computer programmer at Cornell University’s Bioacoustics Research Program, part of the Lab of Ornithology. At York she will develop software for listening spatially to multi-channel recordings of whales, elephants,  and chimpanzees. She will also build tools for exploring characteristic changes in sound as it travels through water and air.  These tools will facilitate collaborative scientific projects in animal acoustic communication, with colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the U.S., and at Cambridge and other institutions in the U.K. A goal of this work is to develop ways to perceive spatial patterns in animal vocalization behavior that we might not otherwise be able to discern.

Ann has degrees in electro-acoustic music composition and ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan, Wesleyan University,  and the University of Illinois. A former Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell, where she co-directed the Indonesian gamelan ensemble, she is also a pianist. Her compositions and presentations have been heard throughout the United States, in Canada, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

Location: Rymer Auditorium