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Wilderness Suite

Music, Video, and Rephotography

Ruby Fulton w/ Teresa Cavazos Cohn, Benjamin James & icarus Quartet

Spring 2020 - present

video clip of Wilderness Quartet courtesy of icarus Quartet

Composition Professor Ruby Fulton (Composition and Music Theory) is currently midway through the research and creation process of “Wilderness Suite,” an evening-length multi-movement piece of music for the celebrated two-pianist, two-percussionist chamber ensemble the icarus Quartet and pre-recorded electronics, in collaboration with U of I filmmaker Benjamin James (English).


Their project is an art counterpart to the rephotography project in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, led by geographer Teresa Cavazos Cohn. The project brought the icarus Quartet for a three-day residency at the Lionel Hampton School of Music in February, 2020, when they rehearsed the music in open workshops and presented on their work with music about science.


The quartet returned to the Lionel Hampton School of Music in April, 2022 to perform the new music together with film created by Benjamin James, using old and new photographs gathered in Cohn’s scientific study. “Wilderness Suite” uses music and video to examine the impact of humans on the environment, and emphasizes the importance of community in research at every level.


This interdisciplinary collaboration between science and the arts will engage both rational and emotional processing systems, maximizing meaning-making and allowing for real communication on the challenging yet pressing question of the impact of human-environmental relationships.

The story of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is more than the science, more than the river, more than the people.


Our understanding of wilderness and need for wild spaces differs for each of us. Members of the Confluence Lab — Teresa Cohn, Ruby Fulton, Ben James, and the icarus Quartet — are dedicated to helping people explore their relationship with wilderness including their views of the Frank.

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