NJIT humanities professor, author and clarinetist David Rothenberg will appear in the upcoming PBS documentary “The Music Instinct” airing June 24, 2009 on Channel 13 and affiliate stations throughout the state and the NYC region. He is also a participant through this week in the second annual World Science Festival in New York City. Various scientific luminaries in this week’s events include Lisa Randall, E.O. Wilson, Brian Greene, and celebrity science fans like Harrison Ford and Alan Alda.
Rothenberg is the author of Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound (Basic Books, 2008), which was named one of the ten best science and technology books for 2008 by Booklist on Line, a publication of the American Library Association.
To research the book and learn about whale music, Rothenberg traveled from Hawaii to Russia to play his bass clarinet while playing and recording interspecies duets with the melodic mammals. The corollary compact disc Whale Music featuring the sounds of beluga, killer and humpback whales can be heard at http://cdbaby.com/cd/davidrothenberg2, iTunes or www.thousandmilesong.com. The musical tract includes a never-before-recorded Pete Seeger song, “The World’s Last Whale.” The CD also won 2008 best cover design from All About Jazz NY Magazine.
(ATTENTION EDITORS: Rothenberg is available to discuss with zeal his music or recording sessions. Call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436 for interviews.)
Creature lovers may recall that Rothenberg authored the bestselling Why Birds Sing (Basic Books) in 2005. Booklist is a 100-year-old journal, published by the American Library Association, whose core mission is to provide public and school librarians with reviews that help them decide what to buy. In recent years, Booklist has also become a valuable tool that helps librarians make reading recommendations.
Rothenberg’s previous recordings include On the Cliffs of the Heart (New Tone Records, 1995) featuring percussionist Glen Velez and banjo player Graeme Boone. The work, praised by composer John Cage, was named a top ten release of 1995 by Jazziz.
Why Birds Sing was published in the US, England, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Korea, China, and Taiwan as both a book and compact disc. BBC Television aired a special about it last summer with appearances by Laurie Anderson, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, and Damon Albarn. Other books by Rothenberg include Sudden Music: Improvisation, Art, Nature (University of Georgia Press, 2001), Blue Cliff Record: Zen Echoes (Codhill Press, New Paltz, NY, 2001), Hand's End: Technology and the Limits of Nature (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1993), Is It Painful to Think? Conversations with Arne Naess (University Press, University of Minnesota, 1992), and Always the Mountains (University of Georgia Press, 2002).
Rothenberg is the editor of the Terra Nova book series, published by MIT Press, presenting environmental issues as culture, not only policy. His own writing has been anthologized in The Best Spiritual Writing 1999 edited by Philip Zaleski (Harper, San Francisco) and The Soul of Nature: Visions of a Living Earth by M. Tobias. His articles have appeared in Parabola, Orion, The Nation, Wired, and other publications.