Creative projects listed under EVENTS + EXHIBITIONS are funded in part with a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts.

The CCA awards grants to Cornell Faculty, Departments, Programs, Student Organizations, and Student Artists to support creative art projects that engage any singular art form or any mixture of art forms, and may be exhibited, presented, or performed in on-campus as well as off-campus venues.

FALL 2019 - SPRING 2020
(Check back frequently, as events are continually being added.)

Apr 15 - Apr 17
The Whale Listening Project

Performance & Music
April 15 - 17, 2021
Various Locations (see below) 
Presented by Annie Lewandowski 

“The Whale Listening Project” is a three-day celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the multi-platinum recording, “Songs of the Humpback Whale,” April 15-17, 2021, at Cornell University. All events free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 15
Keynote - Dr. Roger Payne and Katy Payne

Johnson Museum of Art, Lecture Hall 

The long and haunting songs of humpback whales changed history 50 years ago through the release of a recording: “Songs of the Humpback Whale.”  Hearing the voices of these animals affected audiences, stimulating the "Save the Whales" movement -- spearheaded by Roger Payne -- to regulate and partially close the global whaling industry, and to raise interest in whales among artists and musicians. It also stimulated whale song studies which have continued ever since on breeding grounds in all oceans, as we've learned that whales are improvisational composers, whose communal song rapidly changes in every breeding season and thus is always unique both to time and place. All of this has recently become of great interest to the musical community.

Roger will present the discovery that whales sing and some of the events that revealed the social and political impact on people in several nations.  Katy will present some of the Paynes' findings about the whales' ever-changing songs, recorded by themselves and others over two decades in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

Friday, April 16
Premiere of “Kohala Coast, February 2019”

Sage Chapel

Experience an immersive soundscape of humpback whale song designed for Sage Chapel by Annie Lewandowski, Kevin Ernste, Bill McQuay, and Kent Hubbell. Post-concert talkback with Chris Gabriele and Dr. Adam Frankel from the Hawaii Marine Mammal Consortium, Katy Payne, and Annie Lewandowski.

Saturday, April 17
“Whale Song: A Workshop”

Sage Chapel

Katy Payne and Daniela Gesundheit facilitate an environment within which a primary experience of the compositional techniques and structures at play in humpback whale song can emerge. Together, we will employ leaderless collaboration and experimentation to examine and illuminate the vocalizations of one of the world’s largest living mammals, and to see what we might discover about group identity, distance, competition, innovation, and empathy in the process. All singers, all voices, welcome.

Related Links:
The Whale Listening Project | website
Department of Music | website