Otterbein University guest artist, baritone, and lyricist Daniel Neer headlined a concert with an environmental message, framed in context by conservation experts, in March. Water Music: Art Song in Recital featured the world premiere of a grant-funded commission, with a pre-concert discussion and post-concert talkback with Otterbein Zoo and Conservation Science program faculty and representatives from Polar Bear International.
Polar Bear, a commissioned piece supported by grants from Ohio Arts Council, Puffin Foundation West, and The Johnstone Fund for New Music, is a musical response to the global issue of climate change. It is a chamber music work for baritone and trombone by Sara Carina Graef, set to text by Neer.
“The piece is improv in nature, with lyrics that depict a polar bear searching the Arctic for food as the ice slowly disappears beneath him,” Neer explained.
Baritone Daniel Neer (right) performs the original composition Polar Bear, accompanied by trombonist Peter Gooch.