SoBe Arts' Carson Kievman Creates An Ecologically Relevant Symphony

Rolling Stone writer Jeff Goodell recently released an article predicting that Miami will be underwater in just a short 17 years. Sea levels are rising and we might be going down under, but the larger concern is that our entire planet is endangered by global warming.

Carson Kievman, a composer and founder of SoBe Institute of the Arts, found more than one reason to begin a project that reflects both his belief in music and in saving our planet.

See also: Rolling Stone Predicts Miami Will Be Underwater by 2030

In 1996 he completed Symphony No. 2(42) to honor the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death. After lying low and keeping busy with SoBe Arts, Kievman realized "it's time."

He began working on a new symphony in 1998 and 17 years later, Kievman is finishing the final touches to Symphony No. 4 (Biodiversity), a project that supports a greater cause. Symphony No. 4 is a four-movement reflection on biodiversity and the plight of our ecosystems.

Dr. Robert Ginsburg, a well-known marine geology professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, inspired Kievman's project back when Dr. Ginsburg helped prepare for the International Year of the Reef. He believed in music's impact on society and its ability to attract awareness of coral reefs.

Each movement of Symphony No. 4 reflects a facet of global ecology: "Glaciers (Rivers of Ice)," "The Great Swamp," "Starving Angels" and "The Year of The Reef." While "The Great Swamp" refers to a swamp in New Jersey, it could easily be about intrusion into the wildlife system in The Everglades. At this point, sea levels rising are not our only concern.

"The symphony is written musically as a balance between orchestra. The third movement has the weeping angels crying out to humanity while the violin soloist represents optimism that we're going to find a way," says Kievman.

Kievman anticipates the musical piece's ability to move people to stop the march toward destruction. When asked how a symphony is supposed to speak great depths, Kievman replied, "Intuitively. It's music. I hope people listen to it as music first and then contemplate how it reflects on biodiversity."

But Kievman's work will not come to fruition unless supported by people who enjoy his music (or classical music) and those who care about SoBe Arts. Kievman launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for support to fund the recording of Symphony No. 4.

He is looking out east to work with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded two symphonies with them and wishes to record with them once more due to their "unbelievably great musicians and world renowned composers" and price. Right now Kievman is looking for $35,586.

"This project will enable recording of a new symphony, conveying my vision of the grandeur and fragility of the natural world," says Kievman. Recording is set to occur during January/February 2014 and the release of a CD is planned for September 2014.

And Symphony No. 4 goes beyond seeking to engage people in a life-threatening issue. Kievman hopes to see his recording be the tipping point that breathes new life into his arts organization, SoBe Arts.

"Hundreds, if not thousands of families have benefited from SoBe Arts and I hope it doesn't get buried. It's been great," said Kievman. All proceeds from CD sales will directly fund SoBe Arts scholarship program, which aids disadvantaged families.

Though Kievman worries about humanity's callous attitude, he remains hopeful. "I believe in everything I'm doing without hesitation," said Kievman. When it comes to his arts organization and Symphony No. 4, Kievman does not look back.

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Ashli Molina

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