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Event Ended

Monday August 14, 7.30pm, Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church
The Bowerbird Collective: Simone Slattery (violin) | Anthony Albrecht (cello)

In this musical storytelling of the evolution of song, compositions old and new are interwoven with birdcalls and nature recordings made by some of Australia’s finest recording artists: Andrew Skeoch, Ann Jones and Sue Gould. There are improvisations from both voice and string, composed works from Australia, England, Germany and Estonia, and sounds both beautiful and bizarre. Many of the works on this album are in direct imitation of birdsong, while others are more suggestive of flight, habitat and the Australian landscape.

From the creators of Life on Land’s Edge & Songs of Disappearance (No.2 on the ARIA charts),

“Where Song Began” is a musical and visual celebration of Australia’s birds and how they shaped the world.

Inspired by leading ornithologist Tim Low’s award-winning book, this performance explores the Australian origins of songbirds, ‘the birds that can sing’. Such is their evolutionary significance, ‘one may ask whether human music would have reached the heights it has, had the first songbird not sung in an Australian rainforest.’

Accessible for all ages, this work contemplates the origin of birdsong and the importance of Australia’s rich and colourful bird history. The program includes music spanning 300 years, from Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and J.S. Bach to Arvo Pärt and new Australian works, enhanced by a film of evocative landscape stills, moving images and recordings sourced from the Cornell Ornithology Lab.

The performers: Simone Slattery was recently awarded a PhD in Music Performance from the University of Adelaide and performs regularly with Australia’s finest ensembles. Anthony Albrecht is an Australian graduate of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance program.

The performance features photography from renowned Australian photographers Muneer Al Shanti and Mark Eatwell.

The 60-minute performance is followed by a Q&A.


Dawn Chorus – Overtone Singing with Arvo Part’s Fratres (Excerpt, 1977)
Sarah HOPKINS (b. 1958) Reclaiming the Spirit (1993)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLAMS (1872-1958) The Lark Ascending (Excerpt, 1917)
Chris WILLIAMS (b. 1986) “birds, songs, seas” (Excerpt, 2017) *
Simone SLATTERY (b. 1988) Improvisation on a Bowerbird’s Failed Courtship(
Ross EDWARDS (b. 1943) Ecstatic Dance No. 2 (1990)
Simone SLATTERY (b. 1988) In the Night (2019)
Johann Heinrich SCHMELZER (c.1620-1680) Cucu Sonata (1664)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Prelude from Suite No. 1 for Cello (c. 1720)
David John LANG Anthochaera carunculate (2017) *
Ngarra Burra Ferra – Traditional Yorta Yorta Hymn

* New Commission from the Bowerbird Collective

 This concert is presented by Dr Bruce Caldwell. 




The Bowerbird Collective
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