It is my pleasure to interview David Rothenberg again. I first discovered his work and philosophies when I read his book, “Why Birds Sing” during the summer of 2008. I have interviewed him several times because I am also fascinated with the natural world, musical expression, and birds. So, I was wondering what David was doing during the lockdown since he lives in New York (probably the first state to go into lockdown and a major epicenter of the Coronavirus in the US).
How many weeks have you been in lockdown?
David Rothenberg–I can’t even remember, maybe about a month?
What are you doing to stay centered in your work and home life (since we’re all staying home)?
DR–Teaching music and literature classes online, playing disembodied online concerts, walking in the woods.
Tell me about the project with the nightingales? How did this come about?
DR–I went to live in Berlin for a year seven years ago, and when springtime came I started playing live with the birds, first alone, then inviting other musicians to join.
Besides, this project, what other projects have you done during a lockdown?
DR–Mixing and mastering several albums while sitting at home working separately, continuing to publish books, organizing their editing, design, and printing, not so different from usual… except for one wonders… why are we doing all this? Is the world as we know it just falling apart?
Most interesting are the ones with others doing the mastering, engineering, and producing efforts.
Like the trio album In The Wake of Memories, with Wassim Mukdad, David Rothenberg, Volker Lankow, coming out this summer from Clermont Music.
Others are working on it from their studios and homes…
Are you still teaching and if you are, are you teaching online at this time?
DR–In the past, I avoided teaching online, but now we’re all doing it. Sometimes it’s OK. And some students do better with this format.
What daily practices have you been able to keep up with?
DR–Taking a few walks a day, sometimes bike riding, sometimes going in the woods to record sounds.
I know you are used to traveling and exploring the world, so what is it like to stay at home with family for the duration of the lockdowns?
DR–A bit strange. I kind of question the whole ethos of what I have been thinking about the last few years. Books, music, films, all seem devalued as people expect them to stream or be downloadable for free.
What practices do you have in place to keep yourself virus-free? And what are you doing to stay healthy in general since the opportunity has presented itself for all of us
DR–The usual social distancing and wearing masks where one is supposed to. Shopping once a week, not meeting anyone.