Austin’s Steve Parker Has Built You a New Set of Ears

The audio provocateur expands (again) the local dimensions of sound

As if a visit to the Austin Nature and Science Center wasn’t already a fine way to enjoy time away from the relentless screens of digital spectacle and fragmented social engagement, right?


As if Sunday’s Austin Museum Day celebration wasn’t a good enough reason to drive through Zilker Park and head up the ragged path to that glorious bastion of wilderness and rational inquiry?

Of course it’s always a good idea to enjoy the array of wonderments that the Austin Nature and Science Center has to offer, citizen – but maybe it’s an even better idea now, because of Museum Day, and especially because of what that envelope-pushing composer and trombonist Steve Parker has installed up there among the trees: Tubascopes.

[Note: Tubascopes are listening sculptures, inspired by the obsolete acoustic locators of the 1930s, these new ones made from more than 140 pounds of salvaged marching-band brass and created by Parker under a commission from the City of Austin’s Art In Public Places program.]

“I went to school for classical music at, among other places, UT,” Parker told us about his Bat/Man concert for last year’s Fusebox Festival. “But I prefer to work in a realm that's maybe not as saturated. I’m also interested in creating opportunities for people to engage in sound in novel ways, in ways they wouldn't normally experience sound. For them to engage interactively and on a deeper level than just listening passively.”

Well, the man has gone and done it again – much to the delight of AN&SC visitors.

And this Sunday afternoon is, we suggest, a perfect time to check out those new Tubascopes – and the rest of that welcoming and woods-surrounded Center.

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Steve Parker, Austin Nature & Science Center, Tubascopes, Austin Museum Day

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