Since 1968, Bernie Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small.
Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Dian Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), Krause identified the concepts of the AcousticNiche Hypothesis (ANH), and biophony, the collective and organized acoustic output as each species establishes unique frequency and/or temporal bandwidth within a given habitat. To round out the definitions of soundscape sources, Krause and a colleague added the terms geophony (non-biological natural sounds) and anthropophony (human-generated acoustic signals).
Krause also helped define the boundaries of a new ecological discipline, soundscape ecology. In the world of fine art, Krause has produced over 50 natural soundscape CDs and designed interactive, non-repetitive environmental sound sculptures for museums and other public spaces worldwide.
As a professional studio musician, Krause joined The Weavers, occupying the Pete Seeger slot for their final year (1963), and with his late music partner, Paul Beaver, helped to introduce the Moog synthesizer to pop music and film. The team’s work can be heard on over 250 albums, including those of Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and David Byrne, George Harrison, the Doors, and 135 feature films released since 1967, including Apocalypse Now, Performance, Rosemary’s Baby, Shipping News, and Castaway. In 1973, Krause was invited to China to introduce the synthesizer to his hosts there. This ultimately lead to his meeting with Zhou Enlai.
Krause, who holds a PhD in Creative Arts with an internship in Bioacoustics, was a key figure in implementing natural soundscapes as a resource for the U. S. National Park Service. His recent book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, was published by Little Brown (Hachette) March, 2012, and has been translated into eight languages. In July, 2014, the Cheltenham Music Festival premiered a new symphony composed by Richard Blackford and Krause featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The Great Animal Orchestra: A Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, is based on Krause’s book and is the first live performance piece to incorporate natural soundscapes as a component of the orchestration. A CD of the symphony has been released by Nimbus Records.
In the spring of 2015, Biophony, a music score composed entirely of natural sounds, was commissioned, choreographed and premiered by the Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, an internationally-renowned corps based in San Francisco. In 2015, his current book, Voices of the Wild, was published by Yale University Press, followed in 2016 by Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World, (also Yale University Press).
Krause’s art and science exhibition, The Great Animal Orchestra, commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris, opened July, 2016. The piece has been exhibited at the Seoul Museum of Art in South Korea (2017), Shanghai, China (2018). In 2019, the exhibition will open MOMA’s (NY) Trienalle in Milan on March 1st and London’s 180 The Strand Gallery on March 20th.
Krause lives with his wife, Katherine (Kat), in Sonoma, California.