I’m so thrilled that Ensemble Thing, conducted by Tom Butler, will be premiering the fully staged version of Jan Tait and the Bear at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on Oct. 6 (8 PM) and Oct. 8 (1 PM). This performance stars Alan McHugh, Catherine Backhouse, and Brian McBride, and is directed by Stasi Schaeffer, with costumes by Vicki Brown.
For a little preview, here is a trailer, with beautiful illustrations by Meilo So and animations by Jason Brown of Greenlight Creative.
Tickets are available from the CCA, in advance or at the door. I hope to see you there!
An enormous thanks to Opera America, the Hinrichsen Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts for making these performances possible!
I wrote Seven Duos for Birds and Strings in 2011-2012, when I was composer-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. The piece explores the ways different species of birds might sing their songs together, ranging from unintended overlapping to hocketing so tight that it sounds like only one bird singing.
Seven Duos was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts for violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel and violist Dan Sweaney. For a variety of reasons, the piece did not receive its premiere until November 28, 2014, when Annette-Barbara and Dan performed it at the International Viola Congress. I’m glad they waited, because this year the Congress was in Porto, Portugal, and I was able to attend! They gave a fantastic performance, and I had a great time visiting Porto as well.
For the past several years, I’ve been researching the song of the hermit thrush together with Bruno Gingras, Dominik Endres, and Tecumseh Fitch. We found that its songs follow the overtone series! Our resulting paper was published in the Procedings of the National Acadamy of Sciences on November 18. Some good press coverage of our research can be found in Smithsonian Magazine and Huffington Post, and on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks.