Music For Mycologists

Interterminacy panels 1 to 4

Music for Mycologists is a collection of works presented by LaSaM’s Experimental Music Unit: George TzanetakisTina Pearson and Paul Walde. Music for Mycologists was first presented at the Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria, BC on December 1, 2013. It was subsequently developed into a CD recording project with Victoria producer Kirk McNally, released June 6, 2015 at a CD release concert. Portions of the project were also presented as part of the Surrey Art Gallery’s Sound Thinking Symposium November 15, 2014 in Surrey BC.

EMU triple portrait photos by Christine and Lyssa

American composer John Cage was an avid mycologist.  Cage often quipped that music and mushrooms have nothing to do with one another except for the fact that they appear next to each other in the dictionary. The Experimental Music Unit has put this statement to the test.

Paul Walde’s large mushroom spore prints that were exhibited in Paradox at the Legacy Art Gallery are in fact a music notation intended to be interpreted sonically when exhibited. Accordingly, the musicians, Tina Pearson (flute, voice), George Tzanetakis (bass clarinet) and Walde (bass guitar), presented a program that uses mushroom hunting as a metaphor for uncovering those sounds of rare and raw beauty that exist just beyond perception.

Emu at legacy photo christine walde

In addition to Walde’s Interdeterminancy (for John Cage), the program includes a collective EMU work called Death in the Experimental Garden, the premiere of Hunt (3) Chanterelles, by Tina Pearson, a composition reflecting on her mother’s memories of lifelong mushroom hunting, and a set of short pieces by composer Vaclav Halek, who has published a large collection of scores transcribed from sounds he hears directly from mushroom species living near his home in Czechoslovakia. A rendition of John Cage’s iconic composition 4’33″ is also part of the program, celebrating the culmination of one year of weekly outdoor performances of this work by Tina Pearson. (

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