CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University is publishing 20 four-minute concerts that weave together music and the spoken word to celebrate the creatures that fill the air with sound — frogs, wolves, songbirds, growling grizzly bears — and inspire action to save them.

Videos in the “Music to Save Earth’s Songs” series will be posted online at 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays through the end of March. To watch, visit

The series, which is free and open to the public, is inspired by a new book from OSU Professor Emeritus Kathleen Dean Moore called “Earth’s Wild Music.”

“Words alone are not enough to express the enormity of the losses the world faces. And so we turn to music,” said Moore, distinguished professor of philosophy at OSU and co-founder of the Spring Creek Project within the College of Liberal Arts, which is facilitating the series.

Each tiny concert focuses on a single animal and features a reading from Moore’s book by a well-known writer along with a musical response. In the first video, “Braiding Sweetgrass” author Robin Wall Kimmerer reads a passage about the common murre accompanied by violinist Erika Nagamoto and cellist Titus Young, youth musicians from Corvallis and Eugene. Later in the series, “Trace” author Lauret Savoy will read about the sage grouse accompanied by Mark Weaver on the jazz tuba.

Spring Creek program manager Carly Lettero, who is leading the video project, is committed to bringing art together with science to effect change.

“Scientists tell us that over the past 50 years, roughly 60% of mammals have been erased from the face of the earth. This is unbearable news,” Lettero said. “We are using art to open people’s hearts to the biological and moral necessity of action.” 

The video series is co-sponsored and co-released by Orion Magazine, the Greenbelt Land Trust in Corvallis, the McKenzie River Trust, the Center for Humans and Nature, Counterpoint Press and the Safina Center.

Performances will include:

  • Common murre: Robin Kimmerer reading; Erika Nagamoto and Titus Young, strings
  • Red-naped sapsucker: Elena Passerello reading; Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena, gamelan
  • Space aliens: Kim Heacox reading; Claire Rousay, electronics
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Michael P. Nelson reading; Rachelle McCabe, piano
  • Grizzly bear: Jonathan Moore reading; Tom Foe, interdisciplinary artist
  • Wolf pups: Robin Kimmerer reading; Jazmyn Crosby, experimental electronic
  • Common loon: Charles Goodrich reading; Jan-Michael Looking Wolf, flute
  • Spadefoot toad: Gary Paul Nabhan reading; Jane Rigler, electric flute
  • Albatross: Jane Hirshfield reading; Rachelle McCabe, piano
  • Bald eagle: Mosley Wotta reading; Tom Foe, interdisciplinary artist
  • Meadowlark: Aimee Nezhukumatathi reading; Jane Rigler, electric flute
  • Black-spotted croaker: Elena Passerello reading; Laura Brophy, fiddle
  • Sage grouse: Lauret Savoy reading; Mark Weaver, jazz tuba
  • Passenger pigeon: Michael Branch reading; Erika Nagamoto and Titus Young, strings
  • Sidewinder rattlesnake: Craig Childs reading; Jonathan Rodriguez, percussion
  • Dawn chorus: Lauret Savoy reading; Hank Lentfer, recordist
  • Raven: Aimee Nezhukumatathil reading; Brian Elyo, experimental guitar
  • Humpback Whale: Ishmael Hope reading; Mark Weaver, jazz tuba
  • Grey wolf: Kathleen Dean Moore reading; Rachelle McCabe, piano

College of Liberal Arts

About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts encompasses seven distinct schools, as well as several interdisciplinary initiatives, that focus on humanities, social sciences, and fine and performing arts. Curriculum developed by the college’s nationally and internationally-renowned faculty prepares students to approach the complex problems of the world ethically and thoughtfully, contributing to a student's academic foundation and helping to build real-world skills for a 21st century career and a purposeful life.

Story By: 

Kathleen Dean Moore, 541-602-5566, [email protected]


Carly Lettero, [email protected]

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