Heartwood 2017


Heartwood is a sound art composition, featuring the internal sounds of ash trees. The piece was developed to celebrate ash trees as living, dynamic organisms, of high cultural and ecological value, and also to increase awareness of what we are in the process of losing because of ash dieback disease. Recordings were made of ash trees growing in different parts of Dorset, using a variety of different contact microphones and other sensors, to create a soundscape of the heartwood. The piece was originally developed as a commission for the Inside Out Festival in Dorset, 2014, but was presented again in 2017 as part of the Springhead Ashscape Conference, an international meeting held in Dorset dedicated to ash trees.  On this occasion the composition was combined with live sounds made by a mature ash tree, and broadcast via radio headphones. A complementary suite of choral compositions by Karen Wimhurst were also performed as part of the event, which celebrated the historical and cultural meaning of ash. The processionary route to the tree was configured to represent the runic symbol for ash. Sound file available here.


Heartwood 2017b








Performances of ‘Heartwood’ suite of choral pieces by Karen Wimhurst

By Palida choir, Springhead, Fontmell

As part of Springhead Ashscape conference

October 2017