Auksalaq opera performance on February 11, 2013

EcoSono Ensemble performs Auksalaq
2011 IDEA Award Winner from Internet2
The Phillips Collection,
7pm, February 11, 2013
Produced by The Phillips Collection and the University of Virginia

telematic performance with New York’s Lu Magnus and OpenGrounds, Charlottesville


Following a postponement due to Hurricane Sandy EcoSono Ensemble, Washington D.C.’s newest contemporary music group will give the D.C. premier of Matthew Burtner and Scott Deal‘s award winning telematic opera Auksalaq at The Phillips Collection. A simultaneous Auksalaq performance will take place at Lu Magnus, in New York City and OpenGrounds in Charlottesville Virginia with performers and audiences at both venues interacting through telematic technology.

Auksalaq is a profoundly interactive, multi-media opera created by composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal. The opera integrates music, sonic and visual art, science, and social commentary to provide a stirring statement on global climate change. The work’s title, an Inupiat word meaning “melting snow or ice”, frames Auksalaq as a journey into the vast and remote, yet rapidly changing arctic regions of Alaska and Canada. Auksalaq’s reflection on climate change is particularly relevant at a time when Arctic ice levels are at an all-time low. Matthew Burtner‘s music employs interlocking environmental forces as eco-musical forms, expressing the profound changes in the ice-flows of Arctic waters; while Scott Deal‘s media presents vivid imagery of Arctic land, sea and sky, as well as scientific data, and animation.


Auksalaq is a living, breathing Tour de Force. This avant-garde musical production provides a vehicle for an expanding societal conversation.  Auksalaq is a significant cultural event that marries science as the brain, art as the heart and culture as the soul in our search for awareness and sustainability. … it can be a political and social driver that will accelerate response to climate disruption…”

Michael McBride, National Geographic


Auksalaq is a celebration of the best that interactive technology has to offer. Burtner and Deal invite their audience to immerse themselves in the world of Auksalaq by contributing to its sights and sounds using NOMADS, a specially developed mobile phone app. But this is only one layer of Auksalaq‘s ground breaking interactivity! The remote sites share sounds and images through a high bandwidth Internet connection to create a musical and visual ecosystem of interacting layers, which form one rich, intricate macro-timbre. Auksalaq at The Phillips Collection will feature ‘in person’ instrumental and vocal performances by the EcoSono Ensemble augmented by telematic performances from the gallery Lu Magnus in New York and the OpenGrounds at the University of Virginia.


Auksalaq is the single best and most important realization of meaningful opera for today’s world that I have heard in decades of producing events in New York and elsewhere. It is a pioneering work that pushes the boundaries of networked, media-enriched performance. It weaves together multiple narra- tives relating to global climate change into a powerful, evocative, and multi- faceted story, presenting different perspectives in the ways in which we view the world through a variety of media, including projections, documentary material, live music, verbal narrative, and electronic sound. In its relevance to today’s world, in its theatrical multiple-media presentation, in the ways in which it brings humanity together with technology, it is a remarkable work and an example of how opera may and should evolve today. “

Joel Chadabe
President, Electronic Music Foundation (EMF) New York, NY



The Phillips Collection,

1600 21st Street NW, Washington D.C. 20009

5pm, February 11, 2013

For further information visit

The environmental activism arts organization EcoSono was created by Matthew Burner. EcoSono brings together creative music-making, sound art, and environmentalism through performances, media releases, and education. Projects to date marrying creativity with sustainability include a world tour by MICE (Mobile Interactive Computer Ensemble), and the EcoSono Institute‘s summer programs in the Caribbean Sea, Alaska and Tibet. The EcoSono Ensemble is the newest wing of EcoSono, a professional ensemble combining acoustic instruments, environmental sound and computer technology. We are delighted to celebrate our launch with Auksalaq at The Phillips Collection. Look out for more D.C. shows in the coming months.


To arrange interviews or for other enquiries please contact, 434-249-9870.

Further information, videos, and print quality images available at

Auksalaq is supported by the UVa Vice President and Chief Information Officer; UVA’s OpenGrounds Initiative,  Phillips Collection, Donald Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI);Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA; Virginia Center for Computer Music (VCCM); IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology; Advanced Visualization Lab, Indiana University; UVA Vice President for Research; IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute; Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Initiative, IUPUI; George and Eliza Gardener Howard Foundation; North by 2020 Forum for Local and Global Perspectives, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Electronic Music Foundation; Purdue University School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI; Arctic Region Super Computing Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks; International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks; University of Virginia Arts and Sciences Research Support; Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities