News, Events, Reviews

David Rothenberg in the PBS feature, “The Music Instinct

David Rothenberg live on WNJN-TV, 3 minutes

David Rothenberg on ABC’s Into the Music with Robyn Ravlich
(this is the best whale music radio show yet!)

David Rothenberg talking with Emily Voigt, an NRDC OnEarth podcast, 6 minutes

David Rothenberg live Radio Ireland’s “Sound Stories”, 25 minutes

My comments on the Supreme Court decision to allow Navy sonar tests

video of David Rothenberg playing clarinet with whale songs at the Paris Natural History Museum

Jeff Warren’s Ocean Mind on the CBC, Toronto

Washington Post Express article on the book

Thousand Mile Song featured on Bright Green Blog, Christian Science Monitor

WNYC’s John Schaefer interviews David Rothenberg and Scott McVay

CBC interview with David Rothenberg

BBC Today Show interview with David Rothenberg

Animals Aloud Interview with David Rothenberg, Toronto Radio

David Rothenberg’s playlist on BBC3’s ‘Private Passions’ (2005)

David Rothenberg’s playlist on the New York Times blog “Paper Cuts”

Some important historic whale song recordings now available online


Praise and reviews:


“One of the 10 Best Science Books of 2008”


“A Best Sci-Tech Book of 2008”

—Library Journal

“Masterfully weaving science, art, and adventure, David Rothenberg has given us a love song to whale song that is thought-provoking and moving.”

—Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain On Music

“If you are musically inclined and interested in whales and whale song, this is the book for you.”

—Jeffrey Moussiaeff Masson, Toronto Globe and Mail

“More than a book, but an experience that opens onto a world beyond the ken of most of us.”

—The Explorers Journal

“If you’re looking for a book whose message deserves to be read then pick this one. Not only do you get a personal journey in search of whale song but also a CD of Rothenberg accompanying whale song on his clarinet. Think Jan Garbarek accompanying the Hilliard Ensemble singing Bach.”

— Publishing News (UK)

“Rothenberg’s eloquent pen makes Thousand Mile Song a page-turner. The book is no less than a quest that sings because its stories hold such delightful tunes. Like the book, they resonate deeply well after we turn the final page.”

—Simmons Buntin,

“While Rothenberg’s madcap mission to play jazz to the whales seems as crazy as Captain Ahab’s demented hunt for the great White Whale, it is sometimes such obsessions that reveal inner truths. His affecting and often moving music is aural evidence of his attempt to bridge emotion and rationality, with a faintly bonkers but undoubtedly stimulating intent: to push at the barriers between human history and natural history. By coming to a better understanding of these strange, beautiful and sentient animals, we begin to understand ourselves, too.”

—Philip Hoare, London Daily Telegraph

“Jamming with whales? A siren song from the deep…”

—Daily Mail (UK)

“Delightful and uplifting… there is great joy here.”

—Providence Journal

“David Rothenberg inspires us all to go out into the world and listen beyond the edge of our species.”

—John P. O’Grady, Parabola

“Rothenberg is passionate and sincere, and there is something glorious about his quest.”

—New Scientist

“The whales’ music is strange, stirring, soulful.”

—Chronicle of Higher Education

“Rothenberg writes now as a philosopher, now as a new age pantheist, now as a jazz clarinetist, and finally as a sober scientist in this… engaging book.”

—The Guardian

“Thousand Mile Song never loses sight of the line between science and art; the ethical questions that arise as the author encroaches on this boundary become an important part of his inquiry. His musical experiment may even be a way for the animals to learn about us.”


“Rothenberg’s jazz clarinet playing is really rather good. The whale samples add a spectral backdrop, sometimes forcing their way forwards, at other times remaining an echoey inspiration.”

—Financial Times

“Scholarly, entertaining, thought-provoking, the whole nine yards, or the whole thousand miles…”


“They say that there are two peaks of intelligence on this planet: humans and cetaceans. I’m not sure about humans any more, but this book identifies the whales and dolphins as living in such a complex world of sound and song that they are certainly high on the ladder. Maybe at the top. I humbly bow to their superiority, and I applaud David Rothenberg for opening their world to us.”

—Richard Ellis, author of Men and Whales

“Is the artistic impulse solely human? Is making music with a giant underwater creature… perhaps a new way of understanding this mysterious and remarkable animal?”

—Sharman Apt Russell, OnEarth

“Rothenberg aims to tell the whole whale song story, and he succeeds better than any of the other writers who’ve told the tale. He is never afraid to share his sense of wonder.”

—Open Letters Monthly

“He is seduced by the possibility of basking in the mystery of nature instead of ripping its guts out.”

—Victor Amela, La Vanguardia (Barcelona)

“Although Rothenberg is not the first musician to play along with whales, he may be the first to take the musical results seriously.”

—The Independent

“Rothenberg intertwines the rhythmic rumbling, clicking, booming, honking, whooping, howling vocalizations of the humpback whale with his own improvisations on clarinet and synthesizer, creating free-form jams that give a whole new meaning to the word ‘fusion.’”

—Christian Science Monitor

Why do we feel differently about whales than about fish? Is it because they have the largest brains in the known universe? No; it’s because their songs touch the song centers in our own brains. It’s not intellect—it’s soul. And it’s here.

—Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean

“Rothenberg’s words and sounds reveal a fine and subtle music that crosses the boundary between land and sea.”

—Jon Hassell, musician and composer

“A joyful ride among the orcas, belugas and humpbacks, aimed at enticing these behemoths into a jam session . . . Approaches the stirring border of interspecies contact with dignity and glee.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Have we found common ground? Or are we messing with their minds? Rothenberg, to his credit, doesn’t give answers, but sends possibilities, like notes, floating out there. In our hearts, we should know that these wails are worth saving.”

—Helen Brown, London Sunday Telegraph

WHALE MUSIC wins Best CD Cover of 2008!

—All About Jazz New York



9/24/09 Poetry Center, University of Arizona
sponsored by

10/5-10/24/09 travel aboard The Arctic Circle an arctic artists residency
The Arctic Circle



Maui, Hawaii
3/19/08 The Studio, Haiku, HI – concert
Sponsored by The Whalesong Project

3/22-23/08 Celebration of the Arts, Ritz Carlton, Kapalua
Sponsored by The Whalesong Project

New York, NY
3/29/08 speaking/playing at Evolver Spring Event, Jivamukti Yoga Center, 10:30pm

Ghent, NY
4/8/08 The Nature Institute, concert and talk

Newark, NJ
4/9/08 Dana Library, Rutgers Newark
David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter, concert, 2:30pm

New York, NY
4/19/08 The Big NYC Launch Event!
New York Public Library, on 42nd

Sponsored by New York Institute of Humanities
11 am to 4 pm, featuring Graham Burnett, Roger Payne,
Scott McVay, Sal Cerchio, with musicians Michelle Makarski and Lukas Ligeti

Hoboken, NJ
4/26/08 Bioethics Conference at Stevens Institute of Technology

Cold Spring, NY
5/3/08 Glynwood Center, performance at dusk

New York, NY
5/4/08 Cornelia Street Café – Entertaining Science Series
6 pm, featuring Sal Cerchio, Graham Burnett, Michelle Makarski
and Lukas Ligeti

Washington DC
5/7/08 Live on the Diane Rehm Show, NPR
Olsson’s – Dupont Circle Store, Talk & Signing

Norwalk, CT
5/9/08 Norwalk Community College – Lecture

5/15/08: University Bookstore – Talk & Signing

Bellingham, WA
5/16/08 Village Books (1200 11th St.) – Talk & Signing

Corte Madera, CA
5/18/08: Book Passage – Talk & Signing

5/20/08 Hillside Club, Berkeley Cybersalon, concert with Jaron Lanier

San Diego
5/21/08 Warwick’s Bookstore – Talk & Signing


6/12-13/08 Nightingala Festival on nightingales in science and music
concert and conference,

London, England
7/22/08 Voices of the World Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
7/24/08 Lecture, Royal Institution

Oxford, England
7/26/08 Oxford Botanical Garden, Outdoor Picnic Performance

London, England
7/27/08 Whale of a Time Festival
InSpiral Lounge, Camden Lock

8/1/08 College Street Lecture, Big School, Sydney, Australia
8/5/08 University of Newcastle, Minding Animals Pre-Conference Performance
8/6/08 NowNow, Sydney

Livingston Manor, NY

8/23/08 Hamish and Henry Bookstore, 3pm

Oxford, England
9/4-6/08 The Magic Hour Festival, Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford

Newburyport, MA
9/12/08 Jabberwocky Bookstore
50 Water Street
9/13/08: Parker River Wildlife Refuge

Boston, MA

9/15/08: N.E. Aquarium – talk & signing
9/16/08 Berklee College of Music

Paris, France
10/12/08 performance and lecture on whale song, with Michel André, Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle, 3pm

Brooklyn, NY
10/19/08 reading at Sunny’s Bar, Red Hook

New York, NY
11/14/08 Minding Animals event with Peter Singer and Lori Gruen 12-6pm, Hunter College

New York, NY
11/20/08 92nd St. Y, 8:15 pm

Madrid, Spain
11/26/08 La Caixa Center

Barcelona, Spain
11/27/08 La Caixa Science Museum

New York, NY
12/6/08 White Buffalo Salon

Newark, NJ
1/26/08 Robeson Gallery, Rutgers Newark, 1pm

New York, NY

2/6/09 contributors to The Future: 2012 read at East/West Books
with Daniel Pinchbeck and Michael Brownstein, 7:30pm

Newark, NJ
2/11/09 Dana Library, Rutgers Newark, with Lewis Porter, piano

New York, NY
3/5/09 Philoctetes, with Lewis Porter, piano

Washington, DC

3/15/09 3:45 pm Smithsonian Museum of Natural History,
with David Conover, images

New York, NY
3/20/09 Explorers Club

Maui, HI
3/27/09 Whalesong Benefit Concert, with Pierre Lavagne and Dan Sythe

New York, NY

4/28/09 Other Means Reading Series, at the Flying Saucer

New York, NY
4/29/09 Talk and performance at StorySpiral

New York, NY
5/9 Parabola Magazine Water Event, Orchard House, 58th and First Ave.

Bath, England
5/30 Bath Music Festival

Exeter, England

5/31 Center for Contemporary Art and the Natural World