composer, lecturer, arts integration specialist

Glenn's Epic Journey to Antarctica

Glenn in Antarctica

glenninantarcticaGlenn McClure, who serves on the faculties of both SUNY Geneseo and the Eastman School of Music, will be working on a National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowship through mid-November with Peter Bromirski and his associates from the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Bromirski is the principal investigator on the project, which is employing seismic sensors on the Ross Ice Shelf to better understand the Antarctic melting process and the viability of the shelf.

He will use a mathematical conversion process to bring the infragravity sound wave data into the hearing range, generating material for music that he hopes to fill concert halls with the messages buried deep in the ice.

For a full explanation of the science behind the expedition, check out the work of Dr. Peter Bromirski at https://scripps.ucsd.edu/centers/iceshelfvibes/.

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Special Series: Yesterday Camp

Yesterday Camp – Part 10 – “The Comforts of Yesterday Camp”

Yesterday Camp – Part 10 – “The Comforts of Yesterday Camp”

Part 10 The Comforts of Yesterday Camp We arrived an hour later at the sea ice airfield and hopped into the shuttle that passed by Scott Base (operated by New Zealand’s version of the NSF) and crossed over Ross Island to McMurdo Station. I was still clad in all the necessary layers of protective clothing…

Yesterday Camp – Part 9 – “A Rushed Goodbye”

Yesterday Camp – Part 9 – “A Rushed Goodbye”

Part 9 A Rushed Goodbye With the possibility of good weather, our project director Patrick hoped that we would have two teams out in the field today pulling seismometers. Ideally, one team would go to a long distance station in the plane and the second would go to a closer station on the snowmobiles. Unfortunately,…

Yesterday Camp – Part 8 – “Tremors from Home”

Yesterday Camp – Part 8 – “Tremors from Home”

Part 8 Tremors from Home Our seismometers measure earthquakes and icequakes that ripple through the planet and make the ice beneath our feet tremble.  Sadly, we heard a report of a 6.2 earthquake off the eastern coast of New Zealand that is has stranded thousands and has transformed the city of ChristChurch into a refugee…

Yesterday Camp – Part 7 – “Measured by Music”

Yesterday Camp – Part 7 – “Measured by Music”

Part 7 Measured by Music Momme, the German physicist on the team, explained to me today that the seismometers have been gathering data for two years on the ice shelf’s reaction to infragravity waves from the sea below. Momme is also a jazz guitar player, so I have the luxury of a musical scientist helping…

Yesterday Camp – Part 6 – “The Cloud of Unknowing”

Yesterday Camp – Part 6 – “The Cloud of Unknowing”

Part 6 The Cloud of Unknowing I mentioned in an early blog that it is difficult to get a sense of direction here. North, south, east, and west could be any direction. The time of day is also impossible to judge without a watch because the sun plods a slow oval around the sky, never…

Yesterday Camp – Part 5 – “Rime”

Yesterday Camp – Part 5 – “Rime”

Part 5 Rime Here on the ice shelf, water takes many forms and shapes. There is the huge chunk of ice below us and the blanket of snow that covers it. There are the clouds of every shape and size and the snow that falls from them. There is the steam rising above the pot…

Yesterday Camp – Part 4 – “The Ross Sea”

Yesterday Camp – Part 4 – “The Ross Sea”

Part 4 “The Ross Sea” Readers of my blog know that I have been reading Ernest Shackleton’s memoir South during my Antarctic trip. Had his ship Endurance been freed of the ice in 1914, Shackleton planned on crossing Antarctica and arriving here in the Ross Sea region. Instead, his ship was crushed by sea ice…

Yesterday Camp – Part 3 – “Second to the right and straight on ‘til morning”

Yesterday Camp – Part 3 – “Second to the right and straight on ‘til morning”

Part 3 “Second to the right and straight on ‘til morning” We loaded up the gear on our small fleet of snowmobiles and headed out into the open ice today. We drove about 15 miles to one of 30 seismic stations that need to be removed and returned to the researchers at UC San Diego….

Yesterday Camp – Part 2 – “The Noise, the Silence, and the Music”

Yesterday Camp – Part 2 – “The Noise, the Silence, and the Music”

Part 2 The Noise, the Silence, and the Music It is flat here. Really flat. The horizon is identical in every direction. There is no geographic feature to use as a frame of reference. To complicate matters, there are two different systems of navigation that make “true north” the opposite physical direction from “grid north.”…

Antarctica Blog

WXXI Podcast – A Composer’s Journey to the Bottom of the World

WXXI Podcast – A Composer’s Journey to the Bottom of the World

Brenda Tremblay from WXXI News in Rochester, NY discusses Glenn’s trip to Antarctica in October 2016.  

Turning Points: Dante on the Ice

Turning Points: Dante on the Ice

Nov 25 There is no shortage of video games and conspiracy novels these days that carve out just enough of Dante’s Divine Comedy for the purpose of legitimizing the use of his name in the marketing plan. Among those things that many get wrong about Dante’s poem is the image of Hell as a place…

Polar Baking Hotline

Polar Baking Hotline

Nov 23 Since Great Britain and Norway have dominated Antarctic exploration, Thanksgiving, a signature American holiday, doesn’t have a long heritage here on the icy continent. Americans were preoccupied with a decade or more of pre-Civil War turmoil when James Clark Ross arrived here in the mid 19th century to the place that would eventually…

Every Lightning Strike

Every Lightning Strike

Nov 22 My friend Yuki Takahashi let me tag along today on his daily trip to the top of McMurdo called “Arrival Heights.” It was a pretty brutal place. Today, this snow covered, lunar landscape boasted sustained winds of about 30 mph and gusts up to 60 mph. Yuki monitors six projects for scientists all…

Lectures and Concerts

Lectures and Concerts

November 20, 2016  The temperature soared over the couple of days to the low 20s Fahrenheit and some snow started to melt in the warmer spots at McMurdo. Worries of tracking volcanic mud into the dorms were quickly forgotten as the temperature dropped and the snow arrived yesterday. The station is hunkered down today with…

Open Mike Night at the Seal Beach

Open Mike Night at the Seal Beach

Nov 17, 2016 I spent the day out on the snowmobiles with Elaine and fellow NSF Artist and Writer, Maris Wicks. Maris is a science cartoonist (www.mariswicks.com). While I was recording their voices, Maris was sketching. The Weddell seals make a wide range of sounds both above and below water. Everything from guttural growls and…

A Symphony of Penguins

A Symphony of Penguins

November 15, 2016 I spent a day with the penguins yesterday. After a short helicopter ride with Elaine and the science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, we arrived at Cape Royds. This is home to another early 20th century hut used by the explorer Ernest Shackleton. It is also home to a penguin rookery of about…

The Hut and the Iceberg

The Hut and the Iceberg

Monday Nov 7, 2016 Elaine Hood, a former History professor gave me an excellent guided tour of the Discovery Hut today. The hut was originally built by Robert Falcon Scott’s team during his 1902 expedition. Shackleton was on that voyage too. Scott sent Shackleton home before they arrived at the South Pole because of sickness….

Seals, Songwriters and Secretaries of State

Seals, Songwriters and Secretaries of State

Nov 4, 2016 As the temperature rises in the Antarctic Spring, the Weddell Seals chew holes through the sea ice to sun themselves and their pups. On a clear day like today, their tear drop-shaped bodies standout like giant slugs lying on miles and miles of sea ice. They like to recline on their backs,…

Our Lady of the Snows

Our Lady of the Snows

It is a balmy -4 degrees F today. I never thought I would ever say that I feel warm in this temperature, but after two weeks in much colder temperatures, this feels quite comfortable. I took a walk today to visit two crosses outside of McMurdo. The first cross, found at the end of a…

Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern

Nov 1, 2016 Our team is in a holding pattern. After completing all our survival training last week and double checking our gear this week, we have been waiting for the weather on the Ross Ice Shelf to clear. Once it clears, an advance team will go out to establish the layout of the camp,…

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

October 30, 2016 Hanging out with scientists is really fun. I spent the afternoon with a team studying sea spiders. They dive under the 8-foot thick ice sheet to observe the behavior of spiders that seem to grow bigger in the cold water than their counterparts do in more temperate and tropical waters. The Antarctic…

Frankenstein on the Ice

Frankenstein on the Ice

Early Halloween Party here at McMurdo last night. It seemed better to have the party on the weekend, with a busy week of science work kicking off on Monday. My two favorite costumes were… Full-body pajamas with a Chicago Cubs logo-I wasn’t sure if the fellow wore it as a Cubs fan (given their historic…

A Continent for All Nations

A Continent for All Nations

Big news yesterday! Cheers erupted after news broke that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources has designated 600,000 square miles of the Southern Ocean as the “Ross Sea Marine Protected Area.” It is the largest marine protected area on the planet.

15 Souls

15 Souls

Oct 28, 2016 Dr. Gordon Hamilton died in a crevasse accident last week. Gordon was 50 years old. He worked as a climate scientist at the University of Maine for many years and became a fixture of the McMurdo community. We put the busy life of the station on “pause” for a simple, joyous memorial…