How long have human beings been fascinated by the spellbinding nature of sound in caves? So very long that we can but guess: cave paintings of our Paleolithic ancestors reveal an aesthetic sensitivity tens of thousands of years old; who knows in what wonderment those early artists were awed by the echoes they heard within the deep, dark caverns?
Recent on-site acoustic tests reveal that in prehistoric caves the greatest concentrations of paintings are precisely where echoes are most reverberant; thus it is likely that sound and music were part of the underground spiritual experience of our ancestors. This comes as no surprise. Psychoacoustics and physioacoustics research confirms what people have always felt: sound has profound effects upon us.
See the bottom of this page for the (still growing) list of wineries that have hosted David Auerbach's concerts and recording sessions. People interested in the Sonoma wine country in particular should also explore John Wood's excellent Guide to Sonoma Wineries.
The underground realm of sound resonates with the musician's own inner world. He credits his receptivity to growing up in a rural setting, which sharpened his awareness of nature, something valuable to all artists and human beings. In school days, opportunities to play the less conventional band instruments instilled musical curiosity and confidence. He is grateful to the music teachers who encouraged him and respects their modern peers working today.
Cave Music began by chance in 1986 with the first Carols In The Caves, intended as a one-time-only event as part of David Auerbach's Napa Valley winter trilogy entitled Echoes In The Earth: music in one winery built of wood, in another of stone, and for Christmas, in a wine cave.
(Before Carols In The Caves, his first wine country series was Music And The Elements, a 6-month cycle on themes of earth, air, fire, water, darkness and light, the settings for which included a barrel cellar, a night sky, a blazing hearth, a small lake's islands, a dark salon and a candlelit lodge, all in the Napa Valley. He also hosted and produced World Fiesta, a multi-cultural festival featuring world music artists, in both Napa and Sonoma Counties.)
The response to the first Carols In The Caves has led to its continuation, at a variety of wineries in several wine regions, and to other ideas for themed performances in caves. Everything evolves over time. Similarly, the musician's observations of the effects of sound and music on people have progressively awakened new areas of interest.
You are invited to help him with this service project. Information is at the link above.
He popularized wine caves as venues for concerts.
He emphasized the cave experience with silence between sounds and audience seating in multiple tunnel directions.
Before they became popular, he toured farmers markets with music. He improvised concerts under planetarium skies and beneath the high canopies of redwood groves. He created live music for unusual theatricals including his own onstage interplay with actors.
He performed live on the Golden Gate Bridge during the extraordinary 50th Anniversary "Bridge Walk" public celebration in 1987.
His first performance venture into natural caverns was at the 250-million-year-old Lake Shasta Caverns in 1989, commemorating the magnificent cave system's 25th year of public access. Other natural caverns abound, so keep your ear to the ground.
He presented Drums Of Earth: Earth-Shake In Spring in 2006, commemorating the centennial of the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake & Fire, in the sanctuary of the city's 1889 First Unitarian Universalist Church, a historic stone structure that survived the devastation.
CAROLS IN THE CAVES
CAVE OF THE DRUMS, CAVE OF THE BELLS, CAVE OF THE SPIRITS
TEMPLE OF DRUMS, DRUMS OF PEACE, DRUMS OF EARTH
NIGHT VOYAGE: LISTENING WITH THE LIGHTS OUT
and the BRING YOUR OWN DRUM SHOW
Also: sound adventures for private groups both in and out of caves, for atmosphere, listening and participation. These include musical enhancements to sensory wine exploration, fantastical themes and creativity exercises.
Finally, the Cave Music recordings series is an ongoing and challenging undertaking, years in preparation, with expert consultation and specialized gear from around the world. Audio explorer Jeffrey Silberman graciously introduced David to ambisonics surround sound as pioneered by the late audio theorist and mathematician Michael Gerzon and others at Oxford University, providing a realistic sense of "being there" underground.