Responses in Music to Climate Change


International conference to be held via Zoom, 4-8 October 2021

Registration now open

Conference schedule

Full program

Selected bibliography, discography, and webography about music and climate change

The deleterious effects of anthropogenic climate change continue to shape music making in a post-industrial, global society. Indigenous communities—those typically least responsible for the carbon emissions that have contributed to global warming—face the elimination or depletion of natural resources necessary for their musical practices and traditions. Composers of art music, many compelled to bear witness to our current times and bring awareness to threatened ecosystems, draw sound material from endangered environmental sources. Popular music, too, continues to respond through concerts, songs that thematize the environment, and celebrity endorsements for protection measures. Across all forms of music making, discourses of preservation, sustainability, visibility, and action are pervasive.

This conference collects and shares research on music’s place within the Anthropocene from a wide range of perspectives. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the current reimagining of this event is itself an environmental response and testament to human perseverance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival of COVID-19 presents an important context within which to confront climate change issues, and this context will be directly addressed here, in Responses in Music to Climate Change. 

We are excited to feature the following:

Photo by Steven Feld

A keynote address by ethnomusicologist Steven Feld

A pre-recorded presentation by composer John Luther Adams

Photo by Molly Sheridan
Photo by Gabriel Majou

A live interview with composer Christopher Tin


Adaptations: Confronting Climate Change Amid COVID-19

A roundtable discussion with scholars Aaron Allen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Mark Pedelty (University of Minnesota), Alexander Rehding (Harvard University), Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University), Denise von Glahn (Florida State University), and Holly Watkins (University of Rochester)