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Petri Kuljuntausta: The Great White Bird 26.4.-7.5. in The Main Library

Petri Kuljuntausta: Sound Installation The Great White Bird (2017)

Turku City Library, The Main Library´s Runohuone from 26.4. to 7.5. within the opening hours.

Opening 26.4. at 4 pm.


Sound Installation The Great White Bird (2017)

I started the composition work by arranging a recording trip to West Coast of Finland on 18-19th of May, 2012. The recording place was a tower build for birdwatchers at the conservation area by the sea (Mietoistenlahti, Mynämäki, or 60°63'N, 21°85'E). The place is called as the paradise for the birdwatchers. There were many birds singing in the area, but when I was watching and listening to this mythic and gallant bird, I made the decision that the swan will be the sound subject for my work.

During the recording there were dozens of swans in the Bay. The swans were singing, making sound signals, splashing water with their strong wings and fighting with the competitors. I have never seen so many swans in one place, so the place and timing was perfect for my recording session.

After the trip I listened and tested the recorded material at my studio, selected the sounds that I wanted to use, processed them, and started the composition work. The composition was ready in 10 days and I sent the work to Helicotrema festival, Italy, which had commissioned the composition from me.

In 2016 I got invitation from the Change 2017 project to create an installation version from The Great White Bird. The new work is based on the sound material that I used in the composition, but the realization is totally different. First of all, the installation is spatial work with aleatoric elements, whereas the composition is linear and fixed.

In the installation I am using many speakers and the sounds are distributed to the space from different points around the listeners.

Even the most alienated sounds are processed from the field recordings of Swan song.

The relation of sounds is not determinated, instead the sounds are associated with each other randomly. Thus the installation produce versatile, endless combinations of sound layers and textures.


Petri Kuljuntausta is a sonic artist, composer, and musician. In close collaboration with natural scientists, he has composed an underwater music and made music out of whale calls and the sounds of the northern lights. Enviro mental sounds, live electronics, improvisation and collaborations with media artists have influenced him as a co poser. He has published three books on Sound Art and Electronic Music. Kuljuntausta received the Finnish State Prize for Art in 2005.


The Sound Installation to Turku is produced by University of Turku, department of musicology´s research project "Suomalainen nykymusiikki 2000-luvulla: taidemusiikin kulttuurinen ja yhteiskunnallinen merkitys postmodernissa maailmassa" (Koneen säätiö) and musicology´s and  Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki´s research project "Music, Nature, and Environmental Crises: A Northern Perspective on Ecocritical Trends in Contemporary Music" (Suomen Akatemia).

The Sound Installation is a part of Turku Philharmonic Orchestra´s project  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".