16 May 2007

Award-winning sound recordist Chris Watson has been commissioned by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) to bring the therapeutic experience of the dawn chorus into hospital wards. "The latitude of Britain, around 54° North of the Equator, and the country's temperate climate means it enjoys one of the longest and most striking dawn chorus' in the world," says Watson.

The dawn chorus is believed to be cathartic, the combination of sound and the transformation of light to dark providing hope and inspiration. Via a series of recordings in Springfield Park, adjacent to Alder Hey Hospital, Chris will create a work to contribute to the treatment and therapy of young patients and their families. Collaborating with staff and patients at the hospital, Chris will spend a number of early mornings in Springfield Park, adjacent to the hospital site, to record in detail all aspects of the birdsong. The recordings will be re-mastered, and combined with light, for an installation within the hospital that will recreate the experience of the dawn chorus and sunrise.

"Every Spring the British Isles rings out to the very best wild music on earth, the dawn chorus," says Chris. "Wildsong at Dawn will capture and celebrate this dawn chorus at Alder Hey Hospital." Dr Jane Ratcliffe, Chair of Alder Hey Arts said, "Hearing Birdsong within the hospital will lift everyone's spirits. As with all the diverse arts projects taking place at Alder Hey, the focus is on the wellbeing of our patients, their families and our staff. We work directly with all kinds of artists as part of our 'arts for health' initiative and I am particularly delighted that this very special project involves the Natural World."

Working with BBC Television and radio as a sound recordist, Chris Watson has travelled the world exploring the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres for some of the networks most popular natural history programmes, such as Life in the Undergrowth, Talking with Animals, Big Cat Diary and The Life of Birds for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Factual Sound. Chris was also a Sony Radio Award Nominee in 2002 for BBC Radio 4's A Swallow's Journey. Chris began his career as a musician in the band Cabaret Voltaire in Sheffield and then The Hafler Trio. He has released three solo CD's with UK music label Touch Wildsong at Dawn is supported by the Wellcome Trust. The project is managed by Alder Hey Arts and is a FACT commission.