Lighthouse Stories, RTÉ Radio 1 | Sunday 7pm, 8 November 2015
Chris Watson describes using the beam of the lighthouse to record seals on the Farne Islands at night - and remembers the curious slow motion aggression between the fighting tortoises of Dassen Island, off the western coast of South Africa. Also in this programme, Melissa Murray re-reads 'To The Lighthouse' by Virginia Woolf and Dermot Bolger remembers inviting Salman Rushdie to the Baily Lighthouse at the height of the fatwa. Presented by Luke Clancy.
Forest Fables | 3-6 November 2015
A series of sound rich stories commissioned by the Guardian to reinvent the forest fable. Each piece is set in a particular British Woodland and was recorded on location with award winning sound recordist Chris Watson and Pascal Wyse. The series is sponsored by The Woodland Trust and features new stories from Ali Smith, Alan Garner, Evie Wyld and Alec Finlay.
Produced by Alannah Chance with original recordings and sound design by Chris Watson and Pascal Wyse
1. Written by Ali Smith
In the first of a series of exclusive sound stories inspired by the UK's woodlands, the award-winning writer weaves a spellbinding tale from an encounter between a boy and a strange green child
2. Written by Alan Garner
In the second of our series of exclusive sound stories celebrating Britain's forests, Alan Garner reads his own tale of a newcomer who finds 'ancient noise' beneath the choked underlife of of Cheshire's woodlands
3. Written by Alec Finlay
In the third of our series of exclusive sound stories celebrating Britain's forests, the Scottish poet and artist Alec Finlay reads his tale of a mythical submerged woodland
4. Written by Evie Wyld
In our fourth exclusive sound story celebrating Britain's forests, the Granta young British novelist Evie Wyld reads her unsettling tale of marital tension at the end of times
Sound Design Academy | Podcast
Chris Watson – Field Recording at Its Finest
"This week I had the absolute honour of talking with field recordist, musician, and audio ace Chris Watson. For those unfamiliar with Chris, he is considered one of the top field recordists in the world. He’s worked on Frozen Planet, The Life of Birds, Big Cat Diary, Life in the Undergrowth, Nature, Autumnwatch, and many more. If you want a bigger impression of this amazing artists work check out his website at www.chriswatson.net and you’ll get an even better picture. Needless to say, he’s had and is still pursuing a stunning career that many of us only dream of!"
Gossip from the Garden Pond | BBC Radio 4
Another chance to hear six characters in and around a garden pond, reflect on what life is really like between the lily pads and the buttercups. Written by Lynne Truss. Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
BBC Radio 4, Tue 25 Aug, 23.02 We hear from the tadpole (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and the dragonfly (Alison Steadman)
BBC Radio 4, Tue 1 Sept, 23.02 We hear from the water boatman (Sandi Toksvig) and the Great Diving Beetle (David Ryall)
BBC Radio 4, Tue 8 Sept, 23.02 We hear from the garden spider (Amanda Root) and the Great Pond Snail (James Fleet)
Sounds of the Sea Workshop | Sunday August 23
Sunday August 23rd, 11am-1pm, Normans Bay, near Pevensey, East Sussex, BN24 6PS
The iconic Finback Whale of Museum of Zoology, Cambridge was washed ashore at Normans Bay near Pevensey in 1865. Join us as we return to the site with wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson to record the sounds of the sea. These recordings are for inclusion in the Ocean Song soundscape that will accompany the skeleton in its new home, a fabulous Whale Hall being built as part of the Museum's redevelopment and due to open in 2016. Learn about recording the sounds of nature, discover the sounds beneath the ocean's waves that are normally out our hearing, and have a go at collecting sounds yourself. This workshop is free. Places are limited and booking essential. To book a place, email here
Ocean Song at Pevensey
Sunday August 23rd, 3pm-5pm, St Nicholas’ Church,
Church Lane, Pevensey, East Sussex, BN24 5LD
Discover a world of underwater sound as we go on a journey from sea shore to open ocean with sound artist Chris Watson. Explore your own voice teacher and choir leader Rowena Whitehead, creating the sounds of the sea and the music it has inspired. Through this workshop we will be building a symphony of the oceans using human voices, to be recorded and woven into the sound installation that will accompany our iconic Finback Whale skeleton in his new home. Don't miss out on being a part of the Museum of Zoology and add your voice to the Ocean Song soundscape!
Soundstage | BBC Radio 4 (repeat)
There’s another chance to hear SOUNDSTAGE on BBC Radio 4
Mondays at 09.30am, 17 Aug – 14 September
Monday 17 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45, Midnight at the Oasis
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson narrates the first in a series of audio postcards capturing spectacular wild sound events, beginning in the Kalahari desert.
Monday 24 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 St James Park
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the sounds of the city on Match Day in Newcastle upon Tyne in the second in a series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 31 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 The Wash
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the extraordinary sounds which accompany the movement of the tides on the Wash, in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 7 September, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 Glacial Melt
The extraordinary and powerful sounds of a glacier calving are captured by wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 14 September, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 Dawn Chorus
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the sounds of a dawn chorus recorded near Aldeburgh in Suffolk in the last in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Narrated and recorded by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Kukemura Ambient Festival | August 2015
8th August 2015
Järva maakond, Estonia
An ambient music festival in a forest somewhere in Estonia. Chris will be doing a long (90min) late night set of a deep ocean piece 'Mare balticum - Narva Wall mix'.
Live at Port Eliot Festival | July/August 2015
July 30th - August 2nd, 2015
St. Germans, Cornwall
Chris Watson will be presenting 'Dusk 'till Dawn' in the Round Room 1000h-1100h Saturday and Sunday. Sunday at 1630h he will be presenting 'Caught By The River Coquet' with John Andrews at the Caught By The River marquee.
Slow Television | BBC 4 Monday 4th May
Sound Recording Weekend with Chris Watson | Sheffield Mayl 2015
Legendary Sheffield sound recordist Chris Watson returns to lead an inspiring weekend of have-a-go sound recording for all abilities, capture the orchestra of the dawn chorus and learn the post production skills needed to polish up your recording under Chris’s expert guidance.
Saturday 23rd May: dawn chorus – (exact location and time to be confirmed) Sun: 12–3pm
Hear & Now | BBC Radio 3 Saturday 4th April 2015
Radio 3's primary contemporary music programme, featuring live performances and studio sessions from the best new groups, and premiering works commissioned by the BBC
Soundstage | BBC Radio 4 March 2015
BBC Radio 4, Mon- Fri, 23-27 March 2015, 13.45-14.00
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson narrates five immersive soundscapes; each of which is a time compression; a spectacular natural event which has been recorded over hours, days, weeks or even months but which is presented here in less than 15minutes.In the first programme, Chris visits the Kalahari Desert to capture the sounds of midnight at the oasis. Newcastle upon Tyne is the location of the second programme where Chris records a city soundscape following the changing character of St James’ Park and the neighbouring Leazes Park on match day. The thunder of wings as tens of thousands of birds are driven from the vast expanse of mud by the encroaching tide on The Wash is in sharp contrast to the quietness of the landscape at low tide which is captured in the third programme. Chris then travels to Antarctica and follows the extraordinary transformation as the Barne glacier calves. The series ends with a dawn chorus recorded in Suffolk, featuring a beautiful solo performance by a nightingale, a duet with a robin and a bewitching finale from a group of curlew as they fly overhead from the coastal marshes.
Narrator & Recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Martha – an Endling’s Tale | BBC Radio 4 |10th March 2015
Martha – an Endling’s Tale
BBC Radio 4, Tue 10 March 2015, 11.02am (rpt Mon 16 March at 21.02)
When Europeans arrived in America there were some 3-5 billion Passenger Pigeons. The last one, a bird named Martha died in captivity in 1914. A century on, wildlife filmmaker, writer and broadcaster, John Aitchison reflects on what lessons we have learned from the birds’ demise and explores the possibility of bringing the passenger pigeon back from extinction using genomic technology and a living relative, the band-tailed pigeon. It’s a fascinating and sobering journey. As John says when he comes face to face with Martha, “Extinction is a terrible thing”.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Tuning In – Listening Back in Time
Chris Watson & Tim Shaw
Tuning In - Listening Back in Time is a reconstruction of time distant voices and personal accounts of events on Tyneside during the First World War. The work will be presented using period audio technology in a science and technology basement store...
An Evening of Silence | FuseArt, Bradford 28th January 2015
7pm Doors open
730pm Introduction by Mike Harding. Chris discusses his work on the film, Silence,
and plays uncut recordings he made for the movie on location in Berlin
830pm Screening of the film "Silence" (87 min)
10pm Questions and close...
The Diaries of Brett Westwood | BBC Radio 4 12-16 January 2015
The Diaries of Brett Westwood
BBC Radio 4
Mon – Fri, 12-16 January 2015, 13.45-14.00
Naturalist, writer and broadcaster Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15 about his ‘local patch’, an area of some 5 square miles near his home in Stourbridge. Some 40 years later, he’s still making notes and updating his records about the area. In this series, we join Brett as he returns to his local haunt and reflects on a lifetime of changes.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
The Castle: A Portrait in Sound
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson's evocative and powerful sound portrait of Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.
Built in the 14th century as a piece of political theatre, the magnificent ruins have been reclaimed by nature. Swallows and rock doves nest in the gatehouse, kittiwakes and fulmars guard the sea walls, seals patrol the beaches and skylarks man the approach. The sounds of the sea, the wind and the waves are ever present.
Creative Award Winner | Resolution Magazine
Winners of the Creative Awards are Ed Harcourt, Robert Edwards, Chris Watson, Michael Narduzzo and ICP Studios, Belgium...
The Spirit Child | BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4, Monday 27 October, 16.02
Paul Evans narrates a ghostly tale inspired by the true story of Alice Glaston who at eleven years old was the youngest person to be hung. She was hung from the gallows tree in Much Wenlock in Shropshire in 1545. When writer Paul Evans who was born here, later returned to live here and discovered the story of Alice Glaston from a passing reference in a local history book, he was both shocked and intrigued. The more he thought about the story, the more he felt a responsibility to tell the story as a way to free Alice's ghost. It is the landscape and its stories which have inspired this poem, and this landscape is powerfully evoked through sound recordings by Chris Watson.
Alice is played by Bettrys Jones. Producer: Sarah Blunt
The Foundlings Hospital Dawn Chorus | 25th September 2014
The Dawn Chorus installation will be live from Thursday 25 September until early January at the Foundling Museum.
Renowned wildlife sound recordist and 2014 Handel Fellow Chris Watson, and young care-leavers from London, recorded the sounds of the dawn chorus on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. Inspired by the genetic link today’s birds have with those that sang here for the eighteenth and nineteenth century foundlings, Watson’s installation links past and present through a poetic meditation on the spirit of place.
This piece was recorded in the green and residential areas that surround the Foundling Museum. Watson and his young team recorded throughout the night, ending the session on Sunday 4 May, International Dawn Chorus Day.
A new age of surround sound | Surrey University 16th October 2014
A new age of surround sound: spatial audio at the frontiers of contemporary art, technology and science
Professor Tony Myatt - Inaugural Lecture with special guest performer, Chris Watson
Prof Tony Myatt presents a lecture, illustrated with spatial audio demonstrations, about the concepts, art and practice of contemporary spatial audio. Tony will discuss loudspeaker technologies, recording, live performances and presentations, in the context of contemporary audio practice and will illustrate his unique methods of perceptually informed sound spatialisation, based on the creation of information-rich sound environments.
Following the lecture, Tony will be joined by one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris Watson, to present a post-lecture, live, multi-spatial surround sound performance.
To close your eyes was to lose yourself in a virtual environment of birds, church bells, foxes, distant road traffic and the ever present aural horizon of the sea. (The Guardian)
Discussing the 'spirit of place' and the art of listening with BBC natural history sound-recordist Chris Watson, and environmental writer and musician Rob St John. Recorded live from Port Eliot Festival 2014 for The Nest Collective Hour on Resonance 104.4 FM
Hrafn: Conversations with Odin
24 - 26 October 2014
Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland
“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher
Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is a sound installation that presents the remarkable and seldom-heard phenomenon of ravens gathering to roost.
Set in Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland, the audience will be led at twilight on a short walk into the deepest part of the forest. Along the way their guides share ancient raven lore, the natural history of a talismanic creature, and the beginnings – and the future – of the forest they have entered. Participants settle down in the deepest part of the wood, and as darkness falls, they will hear the sounds of two thousand birds arriving in the canopy overhead to begin their conversations.
Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is composed by Chris Watson and produced by Iain Pate. It is commissioned through Jerwood Open Forest, a partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England.
For full details and tickets, please visit www.jerwoodopenforest.org
Stepping into the Dark | Available as Download
Stepping into the Dark [TO:27D] is now available as high quality audio download. Originally released on compact disc in 1996, Chris's first album for Touch, the tracks are the atmospheres of "special places", recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.
Many of the tracks will be used for the forthcoming iOS app, Nimbus, to be launched on September 10th in Brighton.
BBC Radio 4 | September 2014
PENGUIN POST OFFICE
BBC Radio 4 Mon – Fri, 1-5 September 2014, 14.45-15.00
In October 2013, wildlife cameraman and director Andrew Graham-Brown and assistant producer Ruth Peacey set sail for Antarctica to film the lives of a colony of Gentoo penguins for a BBC Natural World film. Every year Gentoo penguins return to Port Lockroy on the tiny Antarctic island of Goudier to find a mate and raise their young in the shadow of the world’s most southerly public Post Office. This is what the team hoped to film, but it proves to be one of the most challenging filming trips they have ever undertaken.
Presenter: wildlife cameraman Doug Allan
Additional wildlife sound recordings: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt
GOSSIP FROM THE GARDEN POND
BBC Radio 4, Sundays 7, 14 & 21 September 2014, 19.15-19.45
Nestled between the clipped hedges and the neatly mown lawn, the garden pond might seem a tranquil even rather dull place, but nothing could be further from the truth as revealed in this very funny series of tales from a highly sexed Dragonfly, a hotly pursued Water Boatman, a ferocious Diving Beetle, a Tadpole who doesn’t want to grow up, a timid Spider and a self-righteous Snail as the residents of the pond reveal the truth about life between the ripples.
Written and introduced by Lynne Truss.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson
Produced by Sarah Blunt
The Whale: an Exploration | 20th September 2014
10.30–18.00 20 September
National Maritime MuseumGround floorLecture Theatre
Fee: £10 | £7: Members and concessions
Event type: Lectures & talks
A unique day-long event of celebration and investigation, in the company of award-winning writers, artists, film-makers and specialists in cetacean studies and conservation.
Navigating the fluctuating human relationship with one of the ocean's most remarkable and threatened creatures, Philip Hoare (Leviathan, The Sea Inside), sound-recordist and composer Chris Watson (Life, Frozen Planet), former whaler and Greenpeace activist John Burton, Mark Carnall (Grant Museum, UCL) and other leading scientists join acclaimed artist film-maker Jessica Sarah Rinland for a multi-faceted voyage into the extraordinary world of the whale.
Taking place in the week of the International Whaling Commission’s biennial global meeting, the event will consider the challenges facing current whale populations while also tracking their energising presence in literature, film and music.
Curated and presented by Jessica Sarah Rinland and Gareth Evans.
Image: detail of: 'The Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock 1762'. Repro ID: PY3459. Copyright: NMM, Greenwich, London
Pick of the Week | 6:15pm Sunday 10th August 2014
Chris Watson presents Pick of the Week on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 10th August at 6:15pm
For further information - www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d11lb
Nimbus | September 2014
Free sonic paintbox app featuring Chris Watson’s sound recordings – available from September
Chris Watson has been working in collaboration with arts collective The Nimbus Group to create a new immersive sound painting app featuring Watson’s precise and stark sound recordings of the natural world.
Nimbus uses experimental approaches to transport users to places and experiences including: the inside of an animal carcass as it is being eaten, a Mozambique Nightjar singing on the banks of the Zambezi, and a family of elephants sleeping in grassland on the Massai Mara.
Nimbus will be available for free download from The Nimbus Group website from 10 September 2014.
You can read more here
President of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society
The Society is proud and honoured to welcome the acclaimed wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson as its President. Chris is well-known across the world for his recordings which have featured in many natural history programmes on radio and television including the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ with David Attenborough which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).
One Minute of Listening
Minute of Listening is an exciting and innovative project that has the potential to provide all primary-aged children with the opportunity to experience sixty seconds of creative listening each day of the school year. By downloading a simple application to their laptops, desktops or interactive whiteboards, teachers can bring a wealth of sonic resources into their classrooms.
For a full list of contributors: