Jesse Stewart: Soundtalk/Soundwalk, Geodesic Dome, Music Jam & Art Installations

This offering is part of the spring celebration series: Land Art

The many talents of Jesse Stewart will be featured in a 4-part mini-series of music, nature, and art during the BioBlitz 2017, May 24-28, 2017. Join him for a one of a kind adventure, where you can explore your surroundings, delight in the simple pleasures, and unleash your creative potential.


Soundtalk/Soundwalk Workshops:  Immersive sound exploration

Wisdom begins in wonder. Wonder, and therefore wisdom, begin in nature — the greatest of all teachers.                                          – Socrates

Jesse will lead groups on a series of soundwalks throughout the Wintergreen grounds, encouraging participants to listen as closely as possible to the soundscape — the immersive sonic environment that surrounds us. Together, participants will listen to — and reflect on — the “geophony” (earth sounds), the “biophony” (animal sounds), and the “anthrophony” (people sounds). Each soundwalk will culminate in a soundscape-inspired interactive musical workshop that will take place inside a geodesic dome, set up on the Wintergreen grounds.

Click here for dates and times of all Soundtalk/Soundwalk workshops.


Geodesic Dome:  Bio-dome pavilion

Jesse will be setting up a 20ft diameter dome on the property, which can serve multiple purposes —as a gathering place, as a space for inclusive musical exploration, and as a freestanding structural feature. The dome is particularly noteworthy as it is constructed of short struts following geodesic lines, forming a rigid, open framework of polygons which distributes the structural stress throughout the structure.

In addition to providing shelter from the sun and rain, the dome provides an aesthetically compelling and welcoming space for musical interaction, offering an alternative model of socio-musical space to more conventional performance spaces that separate the audience from the performer(s). Inside the dome, participants will work together to make music inspired by the sound of rain, birds, frogs, and more.

Photo courtesy of Ana Muira


Music Jam Session:  Interactive music creation

 Jesse Stewart is an eloquent and poetically powerful percussionist, composer, improviser and teacher—a man of ideas and inventions.                                                                                             William Parker (NYC bassist, multi-instrumentalist, composer), 2014

On the evening of Thursday May 25, Jesse will lead a group music-making session using Canada’s only “reactable,” a new electronic musical instrument in the form of a virtual modular synthesizer and digital sampler with a tangible user interface on an illuminated table. By placing and manipulating blocks on the reactable surface, performers can control different parameters of pre-recorded nature sounds (the songs of humpback whales, the cry of loons, etc) in a highly intuitive way.

Everyone welcome! No experience necessary. 


Land Art Installations:  Nature embodied

“Waterworks” installation, using bits of sea glass to create rings representing every year of his life.
“Waterworks” installation, creating a wave-like image, mimicking the movement of water and sound.

While the final product may be a mystery, the work is much anticipated! Jesse will spend time during the week building land art installations, inspired by an Andy Goldworthy style of visual art — a British sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculptures situated in natural and urban settings. He will be using natural materials found on site at Wintergreen, with the intention of creating a long-standing chef-d’œuvre that can remain to admire, with the materials eventually coming full circle and returning to the earth.

The use of ‘found objects’, essentially any object or material that is creatively repurposed  in a way other than its intended function in a work of art, Jesse says, is a way of reminding oneself that these seemingly ‘ordinary’ objects, are in fact quite extraordinary and they offer a wonderful opportunity to experience a sense of wonder and discovery.” TEDxCARLETON 2010


Photo courtesy of Michele McMillan

JESSE STEWART is a composer, percussionist, artist, and educator. His music has been documented on over twenty recordings including Stretch Orchestra’s self-titled debut album, which was honoured with the 2012 “Instrumental Album of the Year” Juno award. He has been described as “one of the most innovative musicians in Canada” (OttawaJazzScene, 2015).

He has performed and/or recorded with musical luminaries including Jacques Israelievitch (former concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony), William Parker (acclaimed New York City jazz bassist, described as “the most important leader of the current avant-garde scene in jazz” by the Boston Globe), Pauline Oliveros (called the “godmother of American experimentalist music” by New Yorker magazine), Hamid Drake (master drummer and percussionist), Ernst Reijseger (Dutch cello virtuoso), Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (one of the world’s foremost tabla virtuosos), Dong-Won Kim (master Korean percussionist and member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble), and many others.  He performs regularly with Stretch Orchestra (with Kevin Breit, Matt Brubeck), the Sonoluminescence Trio (with David Mott and William Parker), the Stream Quartet (with David Mott, Peter Lutek, and Justin Gray), and in various groups under his own leadership.

His music has been performed at festivals throughout Canada, Europe and the United States, and he has been widely commissioned as a composer and artist. He endorses Headhunters brand drumsticks and brushes. He is a professor of music in Carleton University’s music program and an adjunct professor in the visual arts department at the University of Ottawa. In 2014, he was named to the Order of Ottawa, one of the city’s highest civic honours.

Learn more about his work by visiting

Is there a charge?

This mini-series is FREE to the public! Being offered as part of the BioBlitz 2017, we are able to feature Jesse’s talents and expertise without charge because of the generous support of these amazing organizations: