Terra Nostra - Goals


Photographed by Armin K├╝belbeck - licensed under CC 3.0

Symphonic music transcends language and touches people universally; Terra Nostra can be an emotional first revelation of the global phenomenon of climate change.

Terra Nostra is dynamic — it can be performed with its standard set of imagery or with images chosen for a specific audience. Climate change is ongoing. The images of its effects, both for individual events and communities, are continuing to be recorded around the world. Most importantly, so are our responses.

Customized versions of Terra Nostra can show both the global and local effects of climate change and possible solutions. Every community can be challenged to answer the questions "What does climate change mean for us?" and "What can we do?" We also welcome other collaborative ideas for presenting Terra Nostra, including those that involve visual arts and dance.

We invite you to engage with us and our creation in any of these ways:

  1. Financial support, which will go toward funding curriculum development, both for in schools and educational materials accessible online.
  2. Screening Terra Nostra in a non-profit venue. Contact us if you are in the Puget Sound area and we'll see if one of us can be there to answer questions.
  3. Contributing photographs or videos to our image library for use in creating new versions of Terra Nostra.
  4. Performing Terra Nostra. The score and parts are available for a small fee.
  5. Adding your technical expertise. Educators, scientists, engineers, city planners, musicians, artists, and others — this means you. If you are interested in helping, please tell us your idea!
  6. Most importantly, sharing the message of Terra Nostra and acting on it. (See the Empower section for more.) You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you both for an amazing evening! I absolutely love Terra Nostra…the music, the message, the vision and how this can help the youth of today engage in a better tomorrow! All fabulous!
Kathy DeWalt, Executive Director and Founding Co-Creator of Seattle Symphony's Ten Grands Seattle


Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

One aim of Terra Nostra is to help people who don't have a scientific background begin to understand the global and local causes and consequences of climate change, putting a contemporary and human face on the issue. The musical and visual themes are designed to encourage further discovery.

The world premiere of Terra Nostra was recorded and turned into a film version of the piece, giving us a format to conduct screenings at schools, community centers, and churches, in addition to sharing it with individuals. The common responses were “I had no idea!”, “Wow! Powerful!”, and “You have to get this into classrooms!”

We are working to fit Terra Nostra into existing curricula meeting Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core requirements, as age-specific STEAM education.

We are also designing the next version of the website, which will have more information about the images used in the film version, including the specific setting of each image and how it fits into the context of climate change. A single fire (or other disaster) may be seen as an anecdote, so it is important to integrate those instances into a larger picture. Exposing students to Terra Nostra inspires them to engage in conversations about climate change with friends and family.

This work requires additional resources and expertise to continue. Learn more about how to Engage with us.

I just had a chance to watch Terra Nostra and read the project description. What a fantastic project! I love this idea of merging the abstraction of data with emotionally charged, aesthetic abstraction of the arts. The musical score was quite moving—I was awestruck at the thick layers of instrumentation and how it told a story. Reminded me of Debussy and Stravinsky. Christophe Chagnard is amazing. The poems interspersed throughout the work provided a compelling intellectual break- a different layer of abstraction.
Kari Shepherdson-Scott, Professor of Art at Macalester College


Photographed by Yoshiki Nakamura © Seattle Digital Photography
Listen to the premiere

Terra Nostra shows the beauty of the natural world and the threats faced by it. No previous experience with or knowledge of classical music is needed to be touched by Terra Nostra. It makes climate change urgent and visceral through music and photographs, stimulates people to challenge themselves to learn more about the issues, and motivates them to see what practical steps they can take in their own lives and communities.

We hope to spark other artistic explorations of this subject. There is no need to stay in the realm of orchestral music or limit ourselves to the current suite of images. We encourage further collaborations between the arts, science, and education communities. Those who experience Terra Nostra will be empowered to explore further with others.

Major Themes of Terra Nostra

Each theme is presented with a description from Christophe Chagnard.

I sincerely thank you for inviting me to participate in the premiere of your work. As the week progressed, the work continued to solidify so by concert night its substance and genuineness really began to speak. The combination of music, images and poetry delivered a most, most impressive message. Your ability to find and combine talent from different sources is always a marvel. I was particularly struck by Emily Siff's poetry - very sobering important words. And such an amazing message it was… excellent music, images, words. Again, thank you.
Todd Larsen, contrabassist in the world premiere performance


We have a lot to learn from each other. Ideas for solutions should come from our affected communities, as well as from scientists, policy makers, and people in technology. There will be no one-size-fits-all fixes, but we can share strategies and encourage one another to improve the health of the planet for us and for future generations.

Follow the links below to learn about steps you can take today to combat climate change.

We appreciate your support in curating these links and in creating the next version of Terra Nostra, a professional recording, and associated curricula.


We can each take action to help with climate change. Which steps will have the most impact and which are most do-able will vary for each of us, depending on many factors. Here are some sites with a range of ideas and inspirations.

Just watched Terra Nostra. Wow! It's really great! The imagery, music, and message are super powerful. Congratulations!
Nelda Swiggett, musician and composer