PLYMOUTH — Composer, multi-instrumentalist and writer Ben Cosgrove, the 2015 White Mountain National Forest Artist in Residence, will offer a free program on Wednesday, May 18, at 11 a.m. at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center on 08 Depot St.
Cosgrove will describe his artistic process, play some of his compositions inspired by landscape, and lead an informal discussion on the relationships between music, sound and sense of place.
Cosgrove spent last September on the forest, creating music based on the geography, ecology and natural sounds he encountered. He also offered several public performances.
He is returning to the region this spring to offer a range of school and community programs coordinated by the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire.
Cosgrove is a Massachusetts-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, essayist and touring performer with a deep interest in the human relationship to landscape and place. He has produced four full-length albums of original compositions inspired by geography, and composed scores for short films, documentaries, radio segments and theatrical productions. He graduated in 2010 from Harvard College, where he majored in music and also took several courses in environmental studies and environmental literature. His thesis composition, "Commonweatlh," had a structure derived from the landscape of Massachusetts, considered from west to east.
As a Middlebury College Fellow in Environmental Journalism, Cosgrove visited national parks around the country, researching the conservation of natural silence — and the relationship between sound and sense of place — by talking to scientists, composers and park rangers. He has traveled around the country performing concerts in an array of venues and composing new music inspired by the landscapes he encounters in his travels. He has delivered lectures at high schools and universities on the relationships between music, sound and place and has published multiple nonfiction pieces about place and landscape.
In both his music and his nonfiction writing, Cosgrove explores the nature of the human connection to different environments: At Acadia National Park he composed a suite of three pieces inspired by oceanographical and geological patterns. At Isle Royale National Park he wrote about the wide variety of meanings the island has held for residents and visitors over the last 100 years, created a piece of sound art that used ecological data about wolf and moose populations as its subject matter and source material, and composed music that illustrated his experience of exploring a corner of the island in the mist and fog.
Cosgrove's interests in landscape, place, and ecology have become the strongest forces guiding his composition and performances. "I don't think of my pieces as rendering places in music," he notes in an article in Harvard Magazine, "but more just as responding to places musically. Writing music just turns out to be a great way for me to process the world."
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and writer Ben Cosgrove, the 2015 White Mountain National Forest Artist in Residence, will offer a free program at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18, at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center. (Courtesy photo)