2 December 17, 6.30 und 9 pm

  1. 3rd floor

Admission free


Richard Frater,
Maya Shenfeld:
Five Compositions for the Environmental Song



Evi Filippou (percussion)

Nevo Bar (bass)

Adrien Braud (clarinet and bass clarinet)

Kelly Odonohue (trumpet)

Maya Shenfeld (Electric guitar)


On December 2, Composer Maya Shenfeld and artist Richard Frater present an evening of music inspired by 1970’s environmental protest songs at KW Institute for Contemporary Art.


Their hike back to the 1970’s targets a period in pop music when emotional directness towards immanent environmental threats was urgently felt and needed. Tribute songs like Fourmyula’s single Nature (1969), Marvin Gaye’s 1970’s hit Mercy Mercy me (The Ecology), Jon Hanlon’s Damn the Dam (1973), and Teach In’s Greenpeace (1979) were born out of a spirit of protest and celebration and perceived as effective modes of collective mobilization.
What distinguishes them is a belief that complex environmental issues are perfectly communicable to the public through the pop song. Yet half a century later, the weary listener familiar with their themes may find the intensification of climate change disheartening. Rising sea levels, extreme weather anomalies, increasing atmospheric CO2, and global temperature records, all signal the onset of climate tipping points on a moody earth. Frater and Shenfeld’s piece acknowledges that the environmental song is written for the current generation as much as it was written for the generation it emerged in. Still protesting, still asserting its relevance. This follows one condition of the present: an impatience to resurrect the recent past.


Divided into five movements, the piece and the selected instruments use quotation, repetition, counterpoint, fragmentation, and refraction as means to unlock the new environmental song.


Maya Shenfeld (born 1989, Jerusalem) is a Berlin based composer, sound artist and guitarist. Shenfeld is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and the University of the Arts Berlin, where she completed a MA in classical guitar and contemporary music composition. 


Richard Frater (born 1984 in Wellington, NZ) lives and works in Berlin. He received an MFA from Glasgow School of Art (GB) in 2012. In 2016, he participated in the Berlin Program for Artists.