Bernie Krause

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Bernard L. "Bernie" Krause (born December 8, 1938) is an American musician and ecologist. He founded Wild Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to the recording and archiving of natural soundscapes, is an author, soundscape recordist and bio-acoustician, who coined the terms geophony, biophony, and anthropophony[1] and as a founder of the field, was germane to the definition and structure of soundscape ecology.[2] Krause holds a Ph.D. in Creative (Sound) Arts with an internship in bioacoustics from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati.[3]


Krause was born in Detroit, Michigan. Before age 4 he studied violin and, later, classical composition. He ultimately chose guitar as his major instrument, learning all styles, but was prevented from studying his major instrument at university because, in the U. S., guitar was not yet to be considered a musical instrument in the mid-1950s. Nevertheless, Krause contributed as a studio guitarist to jazz, folk and pop sessions, and occasionally, at Motown during the late 1950s and early 60s. From 1957, he worked as a recording engineer and producer in Ann Arbor while an undergraduate student. Krause joined The Weavers in 1963, occupying the tenor position originated by co-founder Pete Seeger[4] until they disbanded in early 1964.[5]

Electronic music[edit]

After the breakup of The Weavers, Krause moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to study electronic music at Mills College, a time when avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pauline Oliveros lectured and performed there. It was coincidentally the early experimental stages of analog synthesizers, with Don Buchla and Robert Moog testing the expressive range of modular instruments. During this time Krause met Paul Beaver and together, they formed Beaver & Krause.[6]

The team played Moog synthesizer on the Monkees recording, "Star Collector" (1967), one of the first pop group recordings to feature synthesizer. In 1967 they released The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music which was part instructional and part a demonstration of the functions of analog synthesis. It was the first West Coast recording to utilize Dolby A301 (without meters) noise reduction as an inherent part of their production. Beaver & Krause went on to perform on hundreds of sessions for some of the more important names in music of the time, including The Byrds, The Doors, Stevie Wonder and George Harrison and Van Morrison. In November 1968 Krause was asked by Harrison to demonstrate the synthesizer after performing on a session for an Apple artist, Jackie Lomax, in Los Angeles. A recording was made of the demonstration and issued by Harrison, as "No Time Or Space", on his Electronic Sound album the following year. According to Krause, this recording was made without his permission and released expressly against his wishes.[7] Because of their extensive studio work in Hollywood, New York City, and London, Beaver & Krause are credited with helping to introduce the synthesizer to pop music and film.[8]

Beaver & Krause, together or individually, also provided synthesizer and/or natural soundscapes for dozens of Hollywood films including Rosemary's Baby, Apocalypse Now, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Performance, Love Story, and Doctor Dolittle', Shipping News, Castaway, and Duma. Between 1967 and 1972, Beaver & Krause released five albums together, effectively defining the beginning of both the new-age music and electronica musical movements with albums such as The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music, and In A Wild Sanctuary for Warner Brothers. After Beaver's death in 1975, Krause found himself more drawn to the recording of natural soundscapes. At the age of 40 he earned a doctoral degree in Creative (Sound) Arts with an internship in bio-acoustics.[9]

Soundscape pioneering[edit]

Beaver & Krause's album In A Wild Sanctuary, a synthesized music album recorded in 1968 and '69, was the first to incorporate natural soundscapes as an integral component of the orchestration, to address the theme of ecology, and coincidentally, it was also the first album to be encoded in quadraphonic sound and surround sound.

Since 1979, Krause has concentrated almost exclusively on the recording and archiving of wild natural soundscapes from around the world. These recordings – works of art and science commissioned primarily by museums, aquaria, and zoos for their dioramas and sound installations worldwide – are also mixed into ambient tracks for numerous feature films, and over 50 downloadable field recording albums from the world's rare habitats available as downloads through Wild[10] The Krause Natural Soundscape Collection now consists of more than 5,000 hours of recordings of over 15,000 individual species, marine and terrestrial. Sadly, over half of these habitats are now either altogether silent or can no longer be heard in any of their original form. Currently, Krause is seeking an academic home for his archive and related soundscape programs.

In Fall of 1985 Krause and a colleague, Diana Reiss, helped lure Humphrey the Whale, a migrating humpback that had wandered into Sacramento River Delta and apparently got lost, back to the Pacific Ocean. As scientific co-directors of the operation, they used recordings of humpbacks feeding, recorded by two graduate students from the University of Hawaii.[11]

Krause's 1988 CD album, Gorillas in the Mix (Rykodisc), is composed entirely from samples of animal sounds, played from sampling keyboards. In 2007, Krause demonstrated at the O'Reilly Media Where 2.0 Conference a KML layer to Google Earth and Google Maps that made it possible for the first time, to hear soundscapes worldwide. In June, 2013, Krause presented his Soundscape Ecology thesis during a talk at the TED Global Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.[12]

A principal founder of the field of soundscape ecology, a sub-category of ecoacoustics, Krause introduced a number of terms and concepts into the discipline to further define the sources of sound within the soundscape. They include geophony, the first sounds heard on earth consisting of non-biological natural sounds such as the effect of wind in trees or grasses, waves at the ocean or lakeshore, or movement of the earth. The second acoustic source is called biophony, the collective signature produced at one time by all sound-producing organisms in a given habitat. The third, and last of these elements is referred to as anthropophony, or human-generated acoustic signatures. In the final category, some sources represent controlled sound, such as music, theatre, or language. While a large percentage consists of incoherent or chaotic sound, referred to as noise. The first and last terms were implemented along with colleague, Stuart Gage, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University.[13] In addition, Krause introduced the concept of the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis, the idea that vocal organisms in a healthy habitat, tend to establish acoustic or temporal bandwidth in which to vocalize unimpeded by the signatures of others.

Krause was invited to present a TED Global talk at the 2013 Edinburgh conference (, and the keynote talk at the first conference of the International Society of Ecoacoustics (ISE), a worldwide organization, meeting in Paris in June, 2014.

In July 2014, the Cheltenham Music Festival premiered "The Great Animal Orchestra: Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes," a collaboration with friend and colleague, Richard Blackford, former Balliol College Oxford Composer-in-Residence, that was performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Based on his 2012 book of the same title, the work integrates for the first time, natural soundscapes into the orchestral textures of a major symphonic piece. The symphony was recorded immediately following the premier and was released on CD by Nimbus Records in September 2014.[citation needed]

April 3, 2015, Krause and Blackford premiered the score for their first ballet, "Biophony", performed by Alonzo King LINES Ballet at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. His new book, commissioned by Yale University Press, is titled Voices of the Wild: Animal Songs, Human Din, and the Call to Save Natural Soundscapes, and was released in August, 2015. "Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World," a revised edition of Krause's earlier publication and a guide to field recording, is currently in press by Yale University Press, was published in May, 2016. Krause and his wife, Katherine, live in California.[14]

July 1, 2016, the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris, opened the first major soundscape exhibit in a contemporary art museum based on The Great Animal Orchestra as a retrospective of Krause's work including graphic and visual media inspired by Krause's recordings and soundscape philosophies. The exhibit runs until 7 January 2017.[15]


  • 1967 Beaver & Krause – The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music (Nonesuch Records) (Revised and repackaged with new material by Bernie Krause in 1980)
  • 1968 Beaver & Krause – Ragnarok – Electronic Funk (Limelight Records)
  • 1970 Beaver & Krause – In a Wild Sanctuary (Warner Bros. Records)
  • 1971 Beaver & Krause – Gandharva (featuring Mike Bloomfield, Ray Brown, Gerry Mulligan, Gail Laughton, Ronnie Montrose, Howard Roberts, Bud Shank and others) (Warner Bros. Records)
  • 1972 Beaver & Krause – All Good Men (Warner Bros. Records)
  • 1975 Bernie Krause – Citadels of Mystery (Takoma Records/Chrysalis Records)
  • 1981 Bernard Krause – (The New Nonesuch Guide to) Electronic Music (Nonesuch)
  • 1986 Bernie Krause – Equator (The Nature Company)
  • 1987 Bernie Krause – Nature (The Nature Company)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Distant Thunder (The Nature Company)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Mountain Stream (The Nature Company)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Gentle Ocean (The Nature Company)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Jungle Shoes/Fish Wrap (CD Single, Rykodisc)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Morning Songbirds (The Nature Company)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause – Sounds of a Summer's Evening (The Nature Company)
  • 1989 Bernie Krause – Tropical Jungle (The Nature Company)
  • 1989 Bernie Krause – Gorilla (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1988 Bernie Krause & Human Remains – Gorillas in the Mix (Rykodisc)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause – Natural Voices/African Song Cycle (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause – Green Meadow Stream (North Sound)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause – Woodland Journey (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause – Dawn at Trout Lake (North Sound)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause & Philip AabergMeridian (The Nature Company)
  • 1990 Bernie Krause – Amazon Days Amazon Nights (North Sound)
  • 1991 Bernie Krause – Ocean Wonders (North Sound)
  • 1991 Bernie Krause – Tropical Thunder: A Rainstorm in Borneo (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1991 Ruth Happel with Bernie Krause – Loons of Echo Pond (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1991 Bernie Krause, Bob Dorough, Janis Lawrence & Jeff Kohler – Wild Times at the Water Hole (Creatures 'n' Kids)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – Mata Atlantica: A Rare Brazilian Rain Forest (North Sound)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause & Ruth Happel – Desert Solitudes (North Sound)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – Ocean Dreams (North Sound)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – Midsummer Nights (North Sound)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – Nature's Lullabyes: Ocean/Rain/Stream (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – African Adventures (North Sound)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause & Philip Aaberg – A Wild Christmas (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 1994 Bernie Krause – Whales, Wolves & Eagles of Glacier Bay (North Sound)
  • 1995 Bernie Krause & Louis SarnoBayaka (Ellipsis Arts)
  • 1995 Bernie Krause & Rodney FranklinRhythms of Africa (Miramar Records)
  • 1995 Bernie Krause & Rodney Franklin – Ocean Odyssey (Miramar Records)
  • 1995 Bernie Krause & Rodney Franklin – Rain Forest Dreams (Miramar Records)
  • 1998 Bernie Krause – Kalimantaan: Heaven Before Time (Miramar Records)
  • 1998 Bernie Krause – Zimbabwe: Gardens of Eden (Miramar Records)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – African Safari: Zimbabwe (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Alpine Meadow (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Autumn Day in Yellowstone (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Carolina Woods (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Costa Rica: Hidden Treasures (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Galapagos (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause & Lang Elliott – Prairie Winds (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause & Jack Hines – Sequoia High Country (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Sonoma Valley Sunrise (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Spring in Corkscrew Swamp (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Sumatra Days, Sumatra Nights (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2002 Bernie Krause – Winds Across the Tundra (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2006 Bernie Krause, Kevin Colver & Martin Stewart – Voice of the Arctic Refuge (Wild Sanctuary)
  • 2014 Bernie Krause and Richard Blackford - "The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes," Nimbus Records

Professional Affiliations[edit]

  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • International Society of Ecoacoustics
  • National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences
  • Audio Engineering Society
  • Explorer's Club


  • "Using ecoacoustic methods to survey the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, Bernie Krause, Almo Farina, Biological Conservation, 195 (2016) 245–254, Jan. 2016
  • "The Niche Hypothesis: New Thoughts on Creature Vocalizations and the Relationship Between Natural Sound and Music" WFAE Newsletter, June, 1993
  • Notes From the Wild: The Nature Recording Expeditions of Bernie Krause with companion CD (Ellipsis Arts, 1996, ISBN 1-55961-385-8)
  • Into A Wild Sanctuary: A Life in Music & Natural Sound with companion CD (Heyday Books, 1998, ISBN 1-890771-11-2)
  • Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World with companion CD (Yale University Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-300-21819-0)
  • "Anatomy of a Soundscape: Evolving Perspectives," J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 56, No. 1/2, 2008 January/February
  • The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, Little Brown, published March 2012 (ISBN 0-316-08687-8).
  • "Voices of the Wild: Animal Songs, Human Din, and the Call to Save Natural Soundscapes," (Yale University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-300-20631-9)
  • "Soundscape Ecology: The Science of Sound in the Landscape," Bryan C. Pijanowski, Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera, Sarah L. Dumyahn, Almo Farina, Bernie L. Krause, Brian M. Napoletano, Stuart H. Gage, and Nadia Pieretti, March 2011 / Vol. 61 No. 3 BioScience, 203-216, (ISSN 0006-3568 print, ISSN 1525-3244 online)
  • Krause, Bernie, Gage, Stuart H., Joo Wooyeong, "Measuring and interpreting the temporal variability in the soundscape at four places in Sequoia National Park," Landscape Ecology, ISSN 0921-2973, Landscape Ecol, DOI 10.1007/s10980-011-9639-6
  • Krause, Bernie, "Bioacoustics: Habitat ambience and ecological balance," (Whole Earth Review, No. 57, Winter, 1987, ISSN 0749-5056)


  1. ^ Wild Sanctuary website Archived November 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.; accessed July 1, 2015.
  2. ^ Pijanowski, B. C.; Villanueva-Rivera, L. J.; Dumyahn, S. L.; Farina, A.; Krause, B. L.; Napoletano, B. M.; Gage, S. H.; Pieretti, N. (2011). "Soundscape Ecology: The Science of Sound in the Landscape". BioScience. 61 (3): 203. doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.3.6. 
  3. ^ Jascha Hoffman (2012). "Q&A: Soundscape explorer: Bioacoustician Bernie Krause has travelled the world for decades to gather animal sounds for his Wild Sanctuary archive". Nature. 485 (308). doi:10.1038/485308a. 
  4. ^ "Bernard L. Krause". New York Journal of Books. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ Notes From the Wild, Krause 1996, Ellipsis Arts
  6. ^ Into A Wild Sanctuary, Krause 1998, Heyday Books
  7. ^ Into A Wild Sanctuary, Krause 1998, Heyday Books
  8. ^ Making Music, Sir George Martin, 1983, HarperCollins
  9. ^ The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, Bernie Krause, 2012, Little Brown
  10. ^ Wild Sanctuary,
  11. ^ Into A Wild Sanctuary, Krause 1998, Heyday Books
  12. ^ Bernie Krause profile,; accessed July 1, 2015.
  13. ^ The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, Krause 2012, Little Brown
  14. ^ Profile,; accessed July 1, 2015.
  15. ^

External links[edit]