Hildegard Westerkamp was born in Osnabrück, Germany in 1946and emigrated to Canada in 1968. After completing her musicstudies in the early seventies Westerkamp joined the WorldSoundscape Project under the direction of Canadian composer R.Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver.The World Soundscape Project (WSP) was established as aneducational and research group by R. Murray Schafer at SimonFraser University during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It grew outof Schafers initial attempt to draw attention to the sonicenvironment through a course in noise pollutionHer involvement with this project not only activated deep concernsabout noise and the general state of the acoustic environment inher, but it also changed her ways of thinking about music, listeningand soundmaking. Her ears were drawn to the acousticenvironment as another cultural context or place for intenselistening. Between 1991 and 1995 she was the editor of TheSoundscape Newsletter and is now on the editorial committee ofSoundscape -The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, a new publication ofthe WFAE.The founding of Vancouver Co-operative Radio during the sametimeprovided an invaluable opportunity to record, experimentwith and broadcast the soundscape.
Her compositions have been performed and broadcast in many partsof the world. The majority of her compositional output deals withaspects of the acoustic environment: with urban, rural or wildernesssoundscapes, with the voices of children, men and women, withnoise or silence, music and media sounds, or with the sounds ofdifferent cultures, and so on. She has composed film soundtracks,sound documents for radio and has produced and hosted radioprograms such as Soundwalking, and Musica Nova on Vancouver Co-operative Radio.In a number of compositions she has combined her treatment ofenvironmental sounds extensively with the poetry. She also haswritten her own texts for a series of performance pieces for spokentext and tape. In addition to her electroacoustic compositions, shehas created pieces for specific "sites", such as the HarbourSymphony, and Écolepolytechnique.She also attends sound conventions and gives lectures in great dealon her work and sound projects she has completed.Fur Dich for you • based on the poem Liebes-Lied by Rainer Maria Rilke and its
newest translation into English, Love Song, by Canadian poet and writer Norbert Ruebsaat.• The poem speaks of one person’s love to another, but also and perhaps more importantly about love as an inner state towards life and the world as a whole.• In context, the sound sources for the piece consist of specific sounds from two places that have created a sense of belonging to her: North Germany, Vancouver and the westcoast of Canada. Moments of laughter 1:20• Moments of Laughterexplores the edge between the "wilderness" of the childs voice and the cultural formations of the female voice. Türen der Wahrnehmung-Doors of Perception (1996) The sound materials for the piece were taken from the European sound collection of the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and from the composers own collection of field recordings made in Europe as well as in Canada. Türen der Wahrnehmung: a door opens and we enter another sound world. A new sonic space surrounds us and we listen. More and
more doors open and we do not know what will meet us. Our ears are alerted. Radio can open many doors to new (and old) sound worlds. The creaking door of a radio drama takes us into a haunted place, a closet door perhaps into "Narnia", Music from the Zone of Silence-1988 • December/January of 1984/85, 15 artists from 4 cultures camped together in the so-called Zone of Silence in north central Mexico to explore the desert environment through their respective desciplines and to make art. Laying star shaped with their heads together at the centre of camp, looking at the stars and doing sound/voice explorations. The event lasted several hours. This short section on the tape part of the piece is an excerpt of the longer recording and concentrates on the word "silence" spoken in four languages. The materials for the live part of this piece consist of three poems by Norbert Ruebsaat (The Language, The Fox, Art Camp),words for silence and/or quiet in various languages and other vocal sound materials suggested by and/or in interaction with the tape. The piece can be performed by no less than two and no more than four people. Cordillerais Cordillerais a compositional working of Norbert Ruebsaats reading of the long title poem from his book Cordillera.The piece combines the voice with environmental sound from the landscape-the Western Canadian mountain wilderness-which first inspired the poems, and thus places them back into their correct context.the poem describes an ascent and movement through the high country. Itis composed of 17 shorter poems or "snapshots" of specific locations, andthese are each given their own acoustic shape as the compositionproceeds.
Cordillerais is about landscape, about wilderness, about the humanpresence and voice in places that are still considered by many to bebarren and silent. It attempts to bring back to the city listener thesense of space, time and acoustic identity we experience when wemanage to tear ourselves from the noise that clutters most of ourdaily lives.