Most composers are happy to write music from the safety of their studios, but not Cheryl Leonard. In 2009, the intrepid composer traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula and spent a month making recordings and gathering objects that she would eventually transform into compositions, instruments, and music videos.
Leonard's musical "melodies" capture the sounds of glaciers, wildlife, and freezing ambient air to create sonic landscapes somewhere between sound artist Stephen Vitiello and a Sharper Image noise machine. However her compositions, like the one called "Brash Ice" (created in collaboration with artist Oona Stern), have a deeper purpose.
Each piece has a theme that relates to the changing climate of the northern Antarctic Peninsula, for example: the collapse of local Adélie penguin rookeries, morphing weather patterns, and the retreat of local glaciers.
Leonard also fashioned the penguin bones, shells, rocks and other oceanic objects she collected into working instruments, which are intended to be played by small ensembles in live performances of her works.
If you like what you hear, you can listen to more of Leonard's recordings or support her trip to the upcoming Antarctic Music Festival via her Kickstarter campaign.