Jesse Budel is an environmentally-conscious Australian composer and sound artist based in South Australia. In his latest project, The Murray Bridge Piano Sanctuary, he breathes new life into old and derelict pianos, by leaving them outside and allowing them to decay gradually through natural environmental processes. As time passes, this affects their structure and the sound they produce. Visitors passing are invited to play them. There was some controversy from people living in the area when the project was announced. He talks to Jennifer Trijoabout the installation, Buddhism, nature, and art.
Jesse Budel. Photograph © Jakub Gaudasinski
Why have you pursued music composition as a career?
Composition came out of a marriage of interests I had in high school. I was learning piano, voice, and guitar from a young age, but there were also interests in engineering and philosophy. Composition brings together all of those things; obviously the music but also the interest in building things out of sound and exploring some of the deeper questions that we have in life.
You specialise in composing ecological music and sound art. Why is the environment a catalyst for your work?
I could go on about how...