NJIT music professor collaborates with Brood X cicadas to create unique sounds

In the woods of Princeton, accompanied by millions of cicadas, David Rothenberg took out his clarinet and joined the chorus.
Rothenberg is a New Jersey Institute of Technology professor of music and philosophy. He has long studied animal song and his experimental collaborations with everything from humpback whales to birds has garnered him the label “interspecies musician.”
“We can learn from the natural world all kinds of sounds,” he says.
Rothenberg says that the return of the Brood X cicadas was too huge a collaboration opportunity to pass up.
Rothenberg, accompanied by John Wieczorek on percussion, stopped by the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve in Princeton en route to Maryland where he will perform and record with the cicadas this weekend. He is planning more impromptu jam sessions with the bugs in New Jersey in the next few weeks.
“One of the most important things in these projects is what happens when someone plays along with the music of the natural world for the first time,” Rothenberg says. “What does it do to them?”
The cicadas are expected to emerge in more sections of New Jersey over the next few weeks.