composer

Posts Tagged Zoomusicology

Composer in the Tabloids

Composer in the Tabloids

The Sunday Mail/Daily Record did a story about my research on seal vocalizations! Thank you Sunday Mail and Heather Greenaway for the lovely coverage of my work!

My piece Seal Songs, based on the Selkie legend, was originally written for the Voice Factory Youth Choir and the Paragon Ensemble, conducted by Mark Evans, and premiered in Glasgow and Skye in 2011. Seal Songs received its US premiere by the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Trinity Youth Chorus in June, 2017. I’m currently conducting research on seal vocalizations with Prof Vincent Janik and Alex Carroll at St Andrews University, and will be writing a new piece based on my research, to be performed by the St Andrews New Music Ensemble, conducted by Bede Williams, in February 2018.

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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