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Performance: Where Song Began, a musical celebration of Australia's birds and how they shaped the world

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

Inspired by leading ornithologist Tim Low’s award-winning book, this 50-minute performance explores the Australian origins of song, ‘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.’

This work encourages the audience to contemplate the origin of song 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 visual projections, and an immersive soundscape.

About the performers: Simone Slattery was a 2018 Churchill Fellow, received 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 and enjoys an international career.

Performance length: 60 minutes without interval, including a Q&A


Arvo Pärt - Fratres for solo violin, 1977

Sarah Hopkins - Reclaiming the Spirit, 1993

Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, 1917

Chris Williams - bird, songs, seas, 2017

Ross Edwards - Ecstatic Dance No.2, 1990

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer - Cucu Sonata, 1664

J.S. Bach - Prelude from Cello Suite No.1, c.1720

David Lang - Anthochaera carunculate (Red Wattle Bird), New Commission, 2017

Ngarra Burra Ferra - Traditional Indigenous hymn

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