Rob Kapilow: “What Does the Golden Gate Bridge Sound Like?”

Rob Kapilow exploring what the Golden Gate Bridge sounds like with the children from the Manzanita Children’s Center. Photo by Godfrey Lee

The Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75 anniversary in May of 2012, and will also have a musical symphonic composition based on the sounds of the bridge. The Marin Symphony has commissioned Rob Kapilow, an educator, writer, composer, and conductor, to compose a full orchestral composition exploring that question.
Rob Kapilow is the host of “What Makes It Great?”, a National Public Radio program about listening to classical music. He also wrote “All You Have To Do is Listen: Music from the Inside Out.” The book explains his belief that the core of real listening has less to do with musical terminology and historical facts than with one’s ability to listen attentively.
For the Golden Gate Bridge Music Project, Kapilow will listen to the sounds in and around the Golden Gate Bridge, such as the foghorn, the tires on the pavement, the wind and the lapping waves. He will also ask seniors to recollect the sounds they heard before the bridge was built.  His composition will be based on the information he gathers over the next five months.
Last week Kapilow visited Marin City to ask the children at the Manzanita Child Development Center what the Golden Gate Bridge sounds like. He also showed the children how to listen to the things around them, and how the composer can use sound as a part of the composition. He taught them more about listening than they were able to answer about the bridge.
Felecia Gaston, a community leader in Marin City who works with youth in the arts through her Performing Stars of Marin program, helped arrange Kapilow’s visit.
Kapilow, who lives in New Jersey, will be traveling to the Bay Area to gather information about the sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge. And he said he welcomes additional input from the general public. For information on how to contribute “sound advice” to Kapilow, visit face book at  the Golden-Gate-Opus page, and share your answers.

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