Episode 176: The Moth Project with Peter Kiesewalter
This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast presents an interview with Peter Kiesewalter, who is the NYC-based composer and producer behind the new multimedia show “The Moth Project,” the GRAMMY nominated and Emmy Award winning East Village Opera Company, and Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata’s song for song adaptation of the iconic musical “The Sound of Music” (titled “the Hills Are Alive”) — a project for which he received the much publicized blessing and support of the notoriously protective Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. His prolific composition and arranging work (Film, TV, Theater, and commissions) balances formal classical and jazz studies with decades worth of experience performing and writing in many popular music idioms. "The Moth Project" is a multi-media production, music album, and book that marries art, science, and an innate connection to the environment. The Moth Project showcases how artists and musicians are stepping into the spotlight, collaborating with scientists to amplify the call of climate change in a captivating manner, filling the gaps where scientific data falls short. At the heart of "The Moth Project" lies two brothers. One, a passionate artist; the other, a dedicated botanist engrossed in our ecosystem. Amidst the 2020 quarantine in upstate New York, they, along with their six children, bonded over evening campfires, insightful dialogues, and the fascinating biodiversity around them. Inspired by the life cycle of the underappreciated moth, they crafted a narrative intertwining moth migrations with the immigration journey of Peter's family. In a world where millions are in constant movement, seeking new beginnings, it emphasizes the resilience of both nature and the human spirit, and highlights the interconnectedness between the two. In this episode host Michael Shields and Peter Kiesewalter discuss how the Moth Project began amid the depths of the pandemic, when Peter and his family left New York City for his family's cottage in Canada where his connection to nature deepened. The converse upon how esteemed botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer, the author behind Braiding Sweetgrass, lent her voice to the project's central piece (entitled “Reciprocity”). They talk about violinist Whitney La Grange’s unforgettable contributions to the project, the incredible diversity of moths and the common themes humans share with them, how learning about moth migration had Peter thinking about his family history, and much, much more.
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