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Bunnell Artist in Residence composes musical scores to reflect Homer community and landscapes

Bunnell Artist in Residence, Nathan Hall practicing new compositions on April 12, 2022.
Jesse Egner
Nathan Hall
Bunnell Artist in Residence, Nathan Hall practicing new compositions on April 12, 2022.

This month the Bunnell Street Art Centeris hosting three artists in residence. One of those residents is Nathan Hall, a composer and visual artist from Colorado. A former Fullbright fellow, he recently traveled to Iceland to research the country’s contemporary art and music scene. He enjoys composing music that reflects place and people and hopes to use his residency for that purpose.

“I am trying to create a sonic portrait of Homer,” said Hall. “I love thinking about how things I create connect with sound. So when I meet people, when I go places, I love the connection to sound that they might have, like, how were the waves at the beach, different than other waves? And how do the rocks of the landscape sound.”

The 39- year-old is a former Fulbright fellow and has a doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“So I'm Dr. Nathan,” he chuckled.

When I meet him at the gallery, he is behind the piano, tickling the ivories. He is singing an original song as two other gallery patrons harmonize with him. Behind the piano, sheets of paper are pinned to the walls filled with symbols and geometric shapes. It's his own personal notation system, a language I cannot read.

“I basically assign different musical components to the shapes,” said Hall. “So I might say to musicians, like the long lines are going to be long tones. And our short kind of crunchy lines might be sharper, short chords.”

Hall’s work includes a variety of subject matter. Nathan says he uses music to explore a variety of fields including, science, nature, fine arts, history and sexuality.

 “I love bringing sound and music into or exploring how it connects with the world around us. I've done pieces about the movement of the gasses in the sun, to making graphic scores about volcanoes and interviewing LGBTQ folks to make music from their lives. I'm really curious what Homer brings.”

Besides creating music that connects to Homer, Hall hopes to connect with Homer’s LGBTQ community.

“I identify as queer and as a gay man. And I think finding other queer people in town really resonates with me. You know, I think there's something about how could I reflect those people's lives and stories that maybe don't get heard as much.”

Nathan Hall will be in Homer until the end of April. There will be a closing ceremony for Hall and fellow artist in residence, photographer Jesse Egner, planned for Thursday, April 28, at the Bunnell Street Arts Center from 6 until 8 PM. KBBI, in partnership with the Bunnell Street Art Center’s “Artist by Air” program, broadcast a live performance of Hall’s work on April 16, 2022. KBBI will post the full recording later this month. You can find previous performances, on in the “Bunnell Arts by Air” section on under the ‘Shows’ tab on KBBI’s website.

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Desiree has called Alaska ‘home’ for almost two decades. Her involvement in radio began over 10 years, first as a volunteer DJ at KBBI, later as a host and producer, and now in her current role as a reporter. Her passions include stories relating to agriculture, food systems and rural issues. In her spare time, she can often be found riding her bicycle, creating art from handmade paper, or working in the garden.