SACRAMENTO, California – October 7, 2011 – The legendary jazz
guitarist Pat Metheny has joined a California team of distinguished
scientists, educators and digital-media producers working to create
inspirational stories about the state’s natural environment.
Metheny will compose and perform music for the soundtracks of a
PBS prime-time documentary and for short films to reach millions of
visitors at national and state parks throughout California.
The productions are part of the California Environmental Legacy Project, a pioneering
initiative that uses artful storytelling and state-of-the-art digital media to raise
environmental awareness and understanding.
“I am excited to find a musical language to give voice to the great assembling of
California,” said Metheny, a highly versatile and inventive musician.
“California represents so many things and is in many ways a land of extremes – from
the world’s largest and biggest living things (coast redwood and giant sequoia) to the
highest and lowest points in the continental U.S. (Mount Whitney, Death Valley) – and it
is inhabited by one of the greatest and most diverse populations in the history of
The two-hour documentary, “Becoming California,” will take audiences on a journey
across 2 billion years of natural history and explore our past, present and future
relationship with the environment. With Metheny’s original score, the program will
present a monumental story of colliding tectonic plates, the community of life, human
exploitation, coexistence and more. The program is targeted for broadcast in spring
2013 on public television stations throughout California.
“Pat Metheny is an exquisite match for this project,” said Jim Baxter, a biology professor
at Sacramento State University and a director of the Legacy Project. “We have a jazz
great whose music is as diverse and superlative as life in California.”
Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Legacy Project also will provide
an online educational portal featuring unparalleled access to high quality videos, 3D
animations, images, maps and interactive media resources that tell the story of the state
from its origins to the present day and beyond. Media resources for teachers and
students are also being developed. Collaborators on the project include California State
Parks, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Sacramento State is
the lead institution along with Humboldt State University, where biology professor
Jeffrey White also directs the project.