The natural environment has been something that has been AN inspiration for composers for hundreds of years. Whether it be Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, or Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony; nature has inspired many masterworks throughout the centuries.

Today with climate change and global warming being  at the forefront of our minds, twentieth and twenty-first century composers have also been inspired to compose works not only inspired by nature, but also works that hopefully make a statement about what man is doing to the planet.

On Tuesday, September 27th and Tuesday, October 4th, between 7:00pm and 9:00pm the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts will be presenting a course that takes a closer look at music inspired by nature. Presented by legendary broadcaster, and musicologist Andrea Ratuski, this two week course will take a deep dive into musical masterworks through the ages that have been influenced by nature.

The idea for the course came to Ratuski during the pandemic. “People weren’t going to work, so they were out enjoying nature. In the winter people were out walking on the ice. In our own neighborhoods, people were out walking around, and taking it all in,” says Ratuski. “There were stories about composers who were finding themselves in lockdown and hearing birds, and just noticing nature that they hadn’t heard before. So I thought there is really something to this.”

“Music and Nature: Climate Change” will focus on music from the classical master composers such as Vivaldi, Smetana, Handel and others. It will also feature music from more contemporary composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, John Luther Adams, and Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock, amongst others.

The music will be presented according to themes, such as rivers, mountains the arctic etc. There will also be music that composers were inspired to compose after taking a trip or voyage.

“Music and Nature: Climate Change” is available to see live in person at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, or you can watch the class remotely over Zoom. The two sessions will also be recorded, so if you are not available on the two Tuesdays, that the class is offered, you can watch the class at a time that is more convenient for you. For anyone interested in nature and music, there is no reason why you cannot take in what is sure to be a fantastic course.

The course costs $50.00 and you can register by going to the MCMA’s website, or by calling the MCMA directly at 204-988-7650. Take in nature through the eyes and ears of the composers who were motivated by it.