Trailer for the Tar Sands Songbook, a research-creation project funded by a 2016 Faculty Grant from the Tishman Environment and Design Center. The Tar Sands Songbook asks us to reconsider our unseen relationships with oil. Creator Tanya Kalmanovitch knows these relationships all too well. Born in Fort McMurray, Canada, near the site of the Athabasca Oil Sands, the world’s largest bitumen reservoir, she made her decision to become a musician as a teenager because “it had nothing to do with oil.” Fort McMurray has since become a flashpoint of international clashes over energy, the environment, and the economy. Written in collaboration with director Cecilia Rubino, Kalmanovitch’s polyphonic piece weaves together a chorus of actors’ voices with an original, improvised score. The words of indigenous activists, engineers, heavy equipment operators, elders, oil patch workers, scientists, and those of her own family fuel discussions of our past and the powerful forces that shape our future.

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Presented by Mannes School of Music, the College of Performing Arts and the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School.

Creator: Tanya Kalmanovitch

School: Mannes School of Music

Department: College of Performing Arts