Parts Per Billion by José Del Avellanal Carreño

Premiered as part of Changing Music in a Changing Climate

15 October 2020

This is a piece in which we decided to explore the subject of air pollution, due to its relevance both locally and globally. We focused our approach on two main areas – the relationship between air pollution and climate change, and the health implications of air pollution – and our research into them became the base for the shaping of the piece, which we developed as a video work due to the circumstances in which the event would take place. Through the use of different compositional strategies and soundworlds, and the exploration of the expressive and communicative possibilities that the video format could offer; the piece aims to offer a glimpse into two contrasting perspectives on the wide subject of air pollution and provide an urgent message – on the need to further study on air pollution and the social and racial inequalities behind how it affects our populations, and the necessity of effective responses against its deadly consequences.

Parts per billion (ppb) are the orders of magnitude used in the study of air pollution. These are seemingly small, almost insignificant, but their devastating, permanent – and often unnoticeable on a surface level – effects on human lives are a dangerous reality we should care about. Privilege cannot be an excuse for inaction. No one is immune.

Developed in collaboration with Katherine Turner (scientist) and Hoda Jahanpour (cello)

Click below to listen to an introduction to the piece by the composer, followed by the performance.