The Warming Sea

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In recognition of Maine’s climate research leaders, Maine’s Bicentennial, and the impact of warming water to the Gulf of Maine, the Maine Science Festival (MSF) has commissioned GRAMMY award winner Lucas Richman to write a symphonic exploration about climate change in the Gulf of Maine. The Warming Sea will be a multimedia piece, with its world premiere at the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s March 22, 2020 concert (Masterworks IV: Sounds of the Sea) that will serve as the 2020 Maine Science Festival headliner event and is also a Maine Bicentennial event.

For The Warming Sea, the MSF has organized interviews between Richman and Mainers who have direct knowledge of climate change in the Gulf of Maine, including long time fisheries experts Robin Alden and Ted Ames; scientists and experts from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Friends of Casco Bay, and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

Richman noted, “As we launched into this project, I only had the most superficial understanding about our ocean and the havoc that climate change is wreaking on the numerous plant and animal ecosystems that exist beneath the water’s surface. In the process of learning more about the subject, a universal devotion and passion for the sea informed all of the discussions I’ve been able to have with Mainers up and down the eastern seaboard. It is now my task to wed the scientific data offered to me into a creative work that properly expresses that devotion and passion, hopefully serving to motivate the listener beyond a mere passive acknowledgment of our ever-increasing climate danger.”

Project leader and MSF Founder and Director Kate Dickerson is working with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and assisting in an educational outreach program for middle schools in Maine centered on The Warming Sea. Richman and climate scientists will visit with students, and through activities and discussion, students will explore the roles of a composer and scientists and how they overlap in this project. Richman will also solicit the students’ thoughts about climate change and their hope for the future.

Dickerson explained, “Our hope is that these interviews and visits will help inform Lucas’s composition by providing him the insights of others who can explain what is happening in/to the Gulf of Maine; what it means to Maine and the Gulf to be under the immense threat posed by climate change; and what is being done to mitigate it as much as possible. We also know that it is vital to ensure that the future have a voice, so the visits with students are a critical part of this project. I have no doubt that Lucas will compose a piece that captures what is at stake for Maine.”

The MSF is grateful for the support of the Onion Foundation, the Maine Humanities Council, and Emera Maine (2020 Maine Science Festival Giga Sponsor) for this project.

The 6th Maine Science Festival is March 18-22, 2020, and the headliner event is at 3:00pm on Sunday March 22, 2020 at the Collins Center for the Arts. After the concert, the MSF will lead a talkback forum with Richman and people he interviewed, to discuss their work, their thoughts on The Warming Sea, and ways Maine can move forward.

Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply

“It was one of the most exquisite pieces of music I have ever heard.”
~Harold Duckett,
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In celebration of the Leonard Bernstein Centenary (August 25, 2018), Lucas Richman received permission from the Leonard Bernstein Office to create a new work for chorus and orchestra inspired by the speech Maestro Bernstein delivered to the United Jewish Fund two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Known as “An Artist’s Response to Violence,” the speech addresses the manner in which musicians might best use their abilities in the aftermath of tragedy:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”  *
~Leonard Bernstein

The three movements of Richman’s “Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply” expand upon these three directives, exploring the contrasts of great beauty and horrific violence that pervade our modern era. In the process of musically capturing the daily struggle to rise above the steady onslaught of incomprehensible savagery, certain motives can be traced throughout the work as they evolve from a place of benign passivity to orders of an imperative nature.  The work ultimately resolves with an anthemic setting of an original poem which frames the ancient Hebrew text, “L’Takken et Ha’Olam (Repair the World),” uplifting the essence of Bernstein’s profound message.

I. Intensity
II.  Beauty
III.  Devotion

“Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply” was commissioned by a consortium of organizations including the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony for performances in the 2018-2019 Season.

*Used by permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.



Va’anachnu text from the Jewish Liturgy
Tikkun Olam text by Lucas Richman

Va’anachnu kor’im,                                          BUT WE BEND OUR KNEES
Umishtachavim umodim                                 AND BOW DOWN AND EXPRESS THANKS
Lif’nei Melech,                                                 BEFORE THE KING,
Malchei ha’m’lachim,                                       KING OF KINGS
Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu.                                     THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Azor lanu lehavin                                              HELP US TO UNDERSTAND
Ma nuchal la’asot neged alimut.                      WHAT WE CAN DO IN THE FACE OF VIOLENCE.
Ma nuchal la’asot?                                            WHAT CAN WE DO?

L’ma-an bateinu                                                FOR THE SAKE OF OUR HOMES
L’ma-an chavereinu                                           FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FRIENDS
L’ma-an kadur ha-aretz                                     FOR THE SAKE OF OUR EARTH
Tikkun Olam                                                       HEAL THE WORLD

L’ma-an kehiloteinu                                           FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COMMUNITIES
L’ma-an medinoteinu                                         FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COUNTRIES
L’ma-an kadur ha-aretz                                      FOR THE SAKE OF OUR EARTH
Tikkun Olam                                                       HEAL THE WORLD

Aleinu l’takken et ha-olam                                WE MUST REPAIR THE WORLD
L’ma-an imoteinu                                              FOR THE SAKE OF OUR MOTHERS
L’ma-an avoteinu                                               FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FATHERS
Tikkun Olam                                                       HEAL THE WORLD

L’ma-an b’noteinu                                              FOR THE SAKE OF OUR DAUGHTERS
L’ma-an baneinu                                                FOR THE SAKE OF OUR SONS
Aleinu l’takken et ha-olam                                 WE MUST REPAIR THE WORLD

L’ma-an sichlenu                                                FOR THE SAKE OF OUR KNOWLEDGE
L’ma-an simchateinu                                          FOR THE SAKE OF OUR JOY
L’ma-an ha’ahava                                               FOR THE SAKE OF LOVE
Tikkun Olam                                                       HEAL THE WORLD

L’ma-an hashalom                                             FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE
Tikkun Olam                                                      HEAL THE WORLD

L’ma-an nishmoteinu                                        FOR THE SAKE OF OUR SOULS
L’ma-an hemshech kiyumenu                           FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FUTURE
Aleinu l’takken et ha-olam                                WE MUST REPAIR THE WORLD
Tikkun Olam                                                      HEAL THE WORLD