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Music by Dr Allan Zavod | Words by Dr Alan Finkel
Narrated by Sir Richard Branson
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey
“…delivering such an important message in a language that is as accessible as possible is key to The Environmental Symphony’spotential to communicate with a broad audience.” – Limelight (2015)
ABC Classic presents The Environmental Symphony, an ambitious and epic work that spans five billion years, from the formation of the planet through to the devastation of our current age.
Released on United Nations World Environment Day, Wednesday June 5, The Environmental Symphony sounds a warning of what will happen if we don’t act boldly and decisively to address our climate crisis, but ends with an optimistic vision of a greener, cleaner future.
With music by the genre-bending Dr. Allan Zavod, words by Dr. Alan Finkel, narrated by Sir Richard Branson, and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey, this recording is a major international release that lends some musical muscle to the ongoing political and environmental fight against climate change.
Known for his unique creative blend of improvised jazz and classical music, Dr. Allan Zavod wasone of Australia’s most exciting pioneers of fusion music – a pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and conductor, he broke down barriers between genres alongside international superstars such as Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, Sting, Nigel Kennedy and many more. The Environmental Symphony was his last major work before his death in 2016.
Dr Alan Finkel, a friend and admirer of Allan Zavod’s performance and creative prowess, was honoured when Zavod asked him to provide the storyline and the libretto for The Environmental Symphony. They shared the belief that music and science could unite to provide a fresh insight into the problem of global warming. Currently Australia’s Chief Scientist and a former Chancellor of
Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Finkel has had a long and successful career in industry. He has received many accolades and awards, and is passionate about science education.
Since starting youth culture magazine Student at aged 16, Sir Richard Branson has found entrepreneurial ways to drive positive change in the world. In 2004 Richard established Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. Most of his time is now spent building businesses that will make a positive difference in the world and working with Virgin Unite and organisations it has incubated, such as The Elders, The Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. He also serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and supports ocean conservation with the Ocean Elders.
Australian conductor Benjamin Northey is the Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Associate Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Highly active in the performance of Australian orchestral music, Northey is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, his awards include the prestigious 2010 Melbourne Prize Outstanding Musician’s Award and the 2002 Brian Stacey Memorial Scholarship, as well as multiple awards and nominations for his numerous CD recordings with ABC Classic.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is a leading cultural figure in the Australian arts landscape, bringing the best in orchestral music and passionate performance to a diverse audience across the nation and around the world. Each year the MSO engages with more than 5 million people through live concerts, TV, radio and online broadcasts, international and regional tours, recordings and education programs. From its home at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, to free summer concerts at Melbourne’s largest outdoor venue, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the MSO evolves and inspires a broad range of audiences with more than 160 concerts a year.
Sir Richard Branson narrator
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Benjamin Northey conductor
- 1. I. Creation: The beginning of the world forming
- 2. II. Industrial Revolution: When we destroyed some of this paradise with industrial revolution, with urbanisation
- 3. III. The Calm before the Storm: Time for action. The efforts towards clean air
- 4. IV. Global Warming, Final Warning: Carbon dioxide and global warming
- 5. V. Preservation Sensation A more positive outlook: looking to the future