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Posts Tagged Birds

Fair Trade String Trio Premieres Field Guide

Fair Trade String Trio Premieres Field Guide

The Fair Trade String Trio (Ashley Windle, Hannah Levinson, and Jeanette Stenson) will be premiering my newest piece, Field Guide, on July 20 through 26 on their second Pacific Northwest tour, with concerts in Vancouver BC, Victoria BC, Bellingham WA, and Portland OR. More details of the concerts can be found on their websiteField Guide is based on the songs of three birds which can be found in the Western US, the horned lark, the greater sage grouse, and the Western meadowlark. Though these birds aren’t currently endangered, they depend on the wild land of the US National Parks and Forests — and are one of the many, many reasons why we all need to be working to preserve these lands.

Premiere of Seven Duos for Birds and Strings

Premiere of Seven Duos for Birds and Strings

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.

Hermit thrushes sing songs based on the overtone series!

Hermit thrushes sing songs based on the overtone series!

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.

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