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Experience “Music of Trees” on Wednesdays and Weekends in October

Camperdown elm, near the Native Knoll in the Arboretum - one of the seven installation sites for the Music of Trees project.

During the month of October, visitors to the Arboretum can enjoy a self-guided sonic art walk around the grounds, courtesy of Seattle composer Abby Aresty. Abby is a doctoral student in the music department at UW, and for her thesis she has created a sound art installation entitled “Paths II: Music of Trees” that explores “the layers and permutations of acoustic space” at seven chosen sites in the Arboretum.

Over the past year, Abby has been making recordings at these seven sites with sensitive microphones and then digitally editing the sounds to create music. Most of the pieces are meditative reflections designed to capture the visitor’s attention and focus it on the Arboretum’s ordinary acoustic wonders, such as leaves rustling, raindrops falling on dried leaves, and flower petals dropping to the ground. With the help of solar-powered sound systems discretely attached to trees at the different sites, Abby’s compositions are available for everyone to hear. Click here to listen to excerpts.

Exhibit running times: You can experience Abby’s creations on Wednesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m., and weekends, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., now through the end of the month. Pick up an exhibit map and program notes from the front desk in the Graham Visitors Center.

For detailed information, check out the exhibit website and Abby’s blog.

Sponsors: Abby’s work is made possible by donations and support from the Arboretum Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, UW School of Music, UW Botanic Gardens, the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), and more than 75 generous individuals.

In the news: The Music of Trees project has been profiled in the Seattle Times and on NPR. Here is also a nice article in the UW News.