What's On
First Performance7:00 - 8:15 pmSecond Performance8:30 - 9:45 pm
Important InformationCheck your ticket for your exact performance start time. Late arrivals cannot be accommodated. 
Music for Natural History

About Music for Natural History:

Part tragic love song for the wilderness, part experimental sound art, Music for Natural History is a live performance that gives voice to the taxidermied birds and mammals, human-made trees and painted landscapes that form the exhibitions in the Natural History Gallery of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Through careful cataloging, research and transcription, the sounds of the flora and fauna of the dioramas have been made into two naturalistic compositions that invite performers and audiences an entry to forgotten ways of listening and sounding.

With the Museum’s prerecorded audio silenced for the evening, audiences will take an alternate sound-focused journey through the exhibition spaces. Beginning with an audio prelude in the pre-history of the darkened Woolly Mammoth’s ice cave, their path will take them to a sonically animated dawn within the Forest Exhibition.

It might seem, at first, that they are hearing a field recording. However, they will actually be in the midst of a live acoustic interpretation of the sounds of the flora and fauna represented in the Forest exhibition. Sixteen vocalists, sound artists and music instrumentalists, who have spent weeks learning to replicate the sounds of wind, birds, mammals and rain, will present the sonic story of an imagined day through a dry coastal forest and continuing to a rainforest stream as they reveal, in performed sound, detailed interactions of the displayed life forms.

Once the audience arrives in the Seashore exhibition, the performers will bring to life the dynamic sounds of ocean surf and the alternately cacophonic, dramatic and serene voices of Pacific coast sea lions, cormorants and other mammals and shoreline creatures. Finally, the audience will be led through the Delta estuary display accompanied by an audio collage of bird song blended with increasing layers of human soundscape.

Music for Natural History  blurs boundaries between sonic mimicry, soundscape composition, classical music, and dada-ist sound poetry within the already paradoxical setting of the Museum’s exhibitions. In its aural  animation of these surrogates for the natural world, it is at times corporeal, tragic, poignant, alluring, and even humorous. At its heart, however, this sonic artwork reminds us that nearby environments that were once teeming with the complex array of sounds made by millions of creatures sensing and interacting with each other, with plants and trees and with the shifting sonic patterns of wind, rain, snow and heat, are rapidly being silenced by loss of habitat and species as they becoming overwhelmed by human-made sound.

Recognizing that human ancestral responses are deeply woven into a sophisticated sonic engagement with such dynamic soundscapes, Music for Natural History might also be interpreted as a longing for remembering what we no longer hear, and what we no longer sing. Victoria sound artists Tina Pearson and Paul Walde are part of a growing global movement of artists whose work fosters connections to the biosphere and invites reconsidered relationships and dialogues within it.

About the performance: 

The concert takes place in multiple locations throughout the Natural History floor of the Royal BC Museum. A guide will lead you through the performance ensuring that you can see and hear all that is there is to experience. The first group will depart at 7:00 pm. The second group will depart at 8:30 pm. Please check your ticket for your start time. Each performance will last one hour and fifteen minutes.

About the presenters:

Pearson and Walde first worked together when paired to collaborate at the Royal BC Museum’s event “Sight and Sound” in 2012. It was a match made in musical heaven. To see images from that event and hear examples of the music, follow this link.

Tina Pearson

Tina Pearson is a wilderness-bred composer, performer and facilitator whose work plays with sonic phenomena, communications between species, cultures and identities, and the relationships between creators, performers and auaudiences. Pearson has led soundwalks, worked with soundscapes in urban and wilderness projects and led collaborative art projects since the 1980’s. She performs with flute, voice, glass and virtual instruments.

Paul Walde

Paul Walde is an intermedia artist, composer, and curator. Walde’s body of work suggests unexpected interconnections between landscape, identity, and technology and includes painting, photography, printmaking, video, installation, and audio.In 2013, Walde completed Requiem for a Glacier, a site-specific sound performance featuring a fifty-five-piece choir and orchestra live on the Farnham Glacier in the Purcell Mountains to international acclaim.

LaSaM Music

LaSaM Music has been producing creatively adventurous music events in Victoria since 2008 and is known for original themed projects inspired by relationships between the natural world, sound and music and the provocative ideas of music practitioners who work outside the margins. Previous projects include Music For Mycologists (2013) Dark Listening (2014), In a Large Open Space (2011), “And Beethoven Heard Nothing” (2010), among others.


Golden-crowned Kinglet, Chestnut-backed Chickadee,

Northern Flicker, Bewick’s Wren, Brown Creeper,

Varied Thrush, Hairy Woodpecker, Pacific Wren,

Band-tailed Pigeon,American Dipper,

Red-breasted Sapsucker, Screech Owl,

Raven, Steller’s Jay; Black-tailed Deer, Cougar,

Douglas Squirrel, Roosevelt Elk, Grizzly Bear.

The Pelagic Cormorant, River Otter, Western Sandpiper,

Black Oystercatcher, Surfbird, Harbour Seal, Steller Sea Lion,

Black Turnstone, Pigeon Guillemot, Glaucous-winged Gull,

Tufted Puffin, Common Murre, Long-billed Dowitcher,

Northwestern Crow, Semipalmated Plover, and more.



Music for Natural History is produced by LaSaM Music and supported by the Canada Council for the Arts /

le Conceil des arts du Canada

Canada Council for the Arts BW logo  LaSaMLogo