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Night of the E Seals

by Cheryl E. Leonard

In 2008 I was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program to develop a series of musical compositions inspired by environments and ecosystems on the Antarctic Peninsula. This grant enabled me to spend five weeks at Palmer Research Station in January and February 2009, collecting materials for my project Antarctica: Music From the Ice. Most of my Antarctic works are intricately scored compositions that combine field recordings of birds, animals, water, ice, and weather with sounds produced on natural-object instruments including Antarctic rocks, shells, and penguin bones. However, the very first piece I wrote after returning home to California was a more abstract musical recipe, Antarctic Late Night Snack.

Antarctic Late Night Snack

napping E-Seals by Cheryl E Leonard
Napping E-Seals
The Cove on Old Palmer Island
The Cove on Old Palmer Island
Listen to the E Seals!

     « in the cove

     « sparring

     « napping

Cheryl E. Leonard presented Antarctica: Music from the Ice at The Emerald Tablet on November 18, 2014 as part of the Call and Response series; you can find an essay adapted from the presentation in issue 1.

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Cheryl E. Leonard by Cal Tabuena-Frolli
illustration by
Cal Tabuena-Frolli

Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer, and instrument builder whose works investigate sounds, structures, and objects from the natural world. Her projects reveal and highlight unique voices and timbres, often featuring amplified natural-object instruments and field recordings from remote locales. Leonard has received grants from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, and ASCAP. Her artist residencies include Djerassi, the Arctic Circle, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, and Villa Montalvo.

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