The Great Animal Orchestra

Bernie Krause & United Visual Artists

Saturday, June 10–Sunday, October 15, 2023

Bechtel Gallery 3

Tickets Coming Soon.

Listen up: You’re about to take a sonic journey around the planet. Don’t miss the stunning West Coast premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra. Created by pioneer soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause (Sonoma) and United Visual Artists (London) and commissioned by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Paris), this immersive audiovisual art experience celebrates the splendor of the animal world and makes an unforgettable plea for preserving it.

Traveling from rainforests and deserts to Arctic tundra and coral reefs, this experience immerses visitors in seven biodiverse habitats/soundscapes. Hear the howls, croaks, hums, trills, clicks, growls, and cries of animals in the wild, and see this rich symphony of sound made visible through real-time streaming spectrograms. Catch a screening of Bernie Krause: A Life with The Great Animal Orchestra (dir. Vincent Tricon, 2021, 37 min.) and further investigate the phenomena of sound in related exhibits throughout the Exploratorium.

This enthralling installation welcomes you into the life’s work of Bernie Krause: over 5 decades spent recording thousands of hours of sound, including 15,000 animal species in some of the world’s wildest places. These recordings reveal that in order to hear and be heard, each species must find its own acoustic niche in the soundscape, like musicians in an orchestra. But human activities are increasingly silencing these great animal orchestras; more than half of the soundscapes that Krause captured have been diminished or altogether destroyed and now exist only as recordings. The Great Animal Orchestra asks you to listen, to observe, and to act. 

The Great Animal Orchestra, a collaboration between Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, was commissioned in 2016 by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and is now part of its permanent collection.  

The documentary Bernie Krause: A Life with The Great Animal Orchestra was produced by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain and executive produced by Les Poissons Volants.

The exhibition is co-organized with the Exploratorium’s Cultural Partner: 

Photo: View of the exhibition The Great Animal Orchestra, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2016. © Bernie Krause / © UVA. Picture © Luc Boegly