Dressed in vibrant
purple from the Western hat atop her flowing blonde hair to the purple
tights tucked into her white cowboy boots, Bettine Clemen steps outside
of her ridge-top home south of Seymour and walks through beautifully
Clemen plays piccolo for her dog, Orbit, in the living room or her
home near Seymour. A professional musician, Bettine has played for
animals across the globe and incorporates video of her impromptu
performances into her concerts for human audiences.
With a Great Pyrenees
named Orbit in tow, she slips effortlessly between strands of fence
wire and enters a horse pasture to greet her animals. After offering
a quick apple snack, Bettine raises an American Indian flute to her
lips and begins to play a melody for two horses and a donkey.
The animals draw
near, bumping and nuzzling Bettine. Its not clear whether theyre
more interested in the music or another snack but the German-born musician
is convinced they are responding to the sound.
it. They really do, Bettine says with a thick accent that leaves
no doubt to her Bavarian roots.
Besides these equines and a pot-bellied pig named Harry Trotter, which
adopted Bettine and her husband, Peter Longley, this Se-Ma-No Electric
Cooperative member has also played flute for animals across the globe.
A classically trained
musician, Bettine has played for elephants in Sri Lanka, penguins in
Argentina and even a Komodo dragon in Indonesia. Once she performed
for a 220-year old tortoise on the island of St. Helena, where she imagines
the reptile might have known the exiled Napoleon. He would have
known all the inside stories but he didnt tell me, she says.
videos of her animal concerts as well as impromptu performances
for children in her act, creating a multi-media experience that
she says brings her human audiences closer to nature and animals.
What I try
to get across is that we have this incredibly beautiful planet and were
all interconnected. Somehow the animals and the children express that,
has been formally incorporating performances for animals into her concerts
for about seven years, the practice dates much earlier. The child of
a Shakespearean scholar father and an archeologist mother who she describes
as distant, Bettine sought companionship from animals.
closest friends were ponies, she says. When I was 6 years
old and started playing recorder, I played my first concerts for my
Recorder gave way
to flute and Bettine earned a masters degree from the Academy
of Music in Munich. She performed as a soloist with the Munich Bach
Orchestra and the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra before turning away from
the concert halls of Europe.
has more than a dozen CDs of classical, folk, world and "new
age" music to her credit. She also performs on many CDs by
to fulfill a life-long dream to travel and joined an orchestra in Brazil.
Bettine toured the countryside, taking in the sights and sounds. These
experiences began to shape her beliefs about the connection between
man and nature and expanded her music beyond traditional classical sounds.
With dozens of CDs
to her credit, Bettines music runs the gamut from classical to
folk to world music. No
longer bound by the rigid confines of the orchestra, Bettine began performing
as a solo artist on luxury cruise ships. While appearing on the Queen
Elizabeth 2 she met Peter, the ships cruise director. She married
the English-born author and lecturer in 1993.
In December 1999,
the Longleys moved to the Ozarks. Bettine visited the Seymour area at
the invitation of a friend and, upon her return, announced to her husband
she had purchased five acres of pasture and they would soon be moving.
Today the couple
makes their home in Webster County on 31 acres covered with gardens
and orchards. Peter, who once managed an Irish estate, cares for the
land and home, serves on the local arts council and writes novels. Bettine
travels six months a year, performing in concert halls and on ships
bound for Argentina, South Africa, Singapore and other exotic destinations.
spend port calls shopping or sightseeing, Bettine seeks local wildlife
and plays her flute for the animals.
I go out in
nature and I meet the animals of the particular country, like kangaroos
in Australia, she says. Recently, for the first time in
my life, I played for bears, brown bears in Alaska. That was awesome.
My heart was pounding.
Bettine says her
animal audiences seem to enjoy the experience, which she describes as
I try to play
very gently at first so I dont shock them or disturb them. Many
times they come right up and listen, she says. Some animals,
like dolphins, like the higher sounds so I play the piccolo for them.
The elephants like the Tibetan flute for some reason.
As for the Komodo
dragon, Bettine says he preferred Irish jigs.
eat me and I took that for a compliment, she says.
plays for her horses.
Accompanied by the
ships photographer or occasionally a film crew, Bettine records
her unscheduled performances and shows the footage while performing
concerts. She has also released two videos, Bettine, Pied Piper
of the Planet and Bettine and the Magic of Petra,
which both feature her animal concerts.
Besides solo orchestra
performances and her cruise ship concerts, in which she plays up to
nine different flutes, Bettine teaches a personal development course
and has written a book, Open Your Ears to Love, which recounts
some of her life experiences.
music and her multi-media presentations have been embraced by animal
rights groups and a few of her CDs are categorized as New Age,
she says her message of connection with nature should appeal to all
I feel we
have to be very much present in the world and live life in the mainstream,
she says. But it doesnt hurt to bring a little bit more
spirituality into our daily life.
For more information,
log onto Bettines Web site, www.joyofmusic.com.,
or call (417) 935-1251.