|Associate Professor of Philosophy, David Rothenberg is known as a writer, philosopher, ecologist, and musician, speaking out for nature in all aspects of his diverse work. He is both a respected authority on deep ecology, and a jazz clarinetist known for his integration of world music with improvisation and electronics. His 1993 book, Hand's End: Technology and the Limits of Nature, is about how tools have changed the meaning of nature through history, and how we may direct technology in the future so we will be brought closer to the environment, not farther away.|
Howard Rheingold of Whole Earth called it "a bold new theory that encompasses ancient waterworks and nuclear weapons." Library Quarterly called it "densely argued and illustrated". Highly rewarding." The Antioch Review said "this book should be read by all of us." In 1997 Hand's End was turned into a multimedia opera called Intimate Immensity by Morton Subotnick, which will be staged in fifteen cities worldwide. David studied in Norway with Arne Naess, inventor of the term "deep ecology." The results of his time there are documented in two books, Is It Painful to Think? Conversations with Arne Naess, a bestseller in Norway. The second book, Wisdom in the Open Air: The Norwegian Roots of Deep Ecology, presents the history and foundation of radical environmentalism from its roots in the mountains and fjords of Scandinavia. Some of the translations in this second volume received the Robert Fitzgerald Prize. David's latest book is an essay collection on the various meanings of wilderness, Wild Ideas, published in the fall of 1995.
As a musician, Rothenberg tries to blend the indigenous energy of the world's primal music with the exploratory spirit of improvisation. Rothenberg's first album nobody could explain it was released in 1992 to praise from all musical directions. WVKR in Poughkeepsie decided it's "like ECM on mushrooms." Option called it "music of powerful images and lasting value." His second record, On the Cliffs of the Heart, with percussionist Glen Velez and banjo player Graeme Boone, was released by New Tone Records in the autumn of 1995. John Cage praised their "sense of virtuosity traveling all over the world." The record has been praised on NPR's Fresh Air and in the Utne Reader. Jazziz named it one of the top ten releases of 1995. His third record, Unamuno, blending improvised music with natural soundscapes, was released by New Tone in the summer of 1997. Around the same time he put together a compilation CD called Music from Nature, including music from Beethoven, BabenzŽlŽ pygmies, Brian Eno, and Australian Pied Butcherbirds. He has studied jazz clarinet with Jimmy Giuffre and Paul McCandless, and composition with the late Ivan Tcherepnin and John Cage. He has studied Tibetan ritual wind music in Nepal and folk music in Norway.
Rothenberg has performed and spoken all over the world. He was featured at the Oslo International Poetry Festival in 1986, and performed for an audience of several thousand at the 1988 Geist und Natur conference in Hannover, West Germany. In the summer of 1989 he was invited to perform his piece for clarinet, electronics, and wind synthesizer In the Rainforest at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary music.He has advised the German World's Fair EXPO 2000 and the United Nations on ecological sustainability. He has written for Orion, Musicworks, CEO, Earth Ethics, Wired, The Nation, The Amicus Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Parabola. In 1996 he founded a new literary magazine, Terra Nova, which emphasizes the cultural aspects of ecology, blending art and politics in a new and sophisticated way. Both the Utne Reader and Library Journal singled it out as one of the best new magazines of the year. His compositional credits include music for two theatrical productions of Buechner's Woyzeck, a dramatic adaptation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Jean-Claude van Ittalie, and Waiting by the Water's Edge by Lucinda Coxon, produced at the Ohio Theater in Manhattan. Music he recorded with cellist Eugene Friesen was used as a dance soundtrack by solo performer Margie Gillis at the BAM Next Wave Festival and all over the world, and his music has been heard in several films, including the award-winning Love is Deaf by Jaime Wolf. In 1998 he will co-produce and compose music for a PBS series, Parliament of Minds, composed of interviews with philosophers from across the planet. David is thirty-six years old, and he presently combines his work in music and philosophy as associate professor of humanities at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He lectures regularly at universities all over the world, and performs wherever he goes. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.