A concert inspired by the songs of endangered birds

Posted by pt91 at Apr 08, 2016 01:13 PM |
Attenborough Arts hosts collaboration between musicians and local artist

Issued by Attenborough Arts on 6 April 2016

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre has commissioned a new concert ‘The Red Species List’, to respond to the current exhibition by internationally acclaimed artists Lucy + Jorge Orta, whose artwork questions the social and ecological sustainability of our planet.

The concert takes place on Friday 22 April and is a collaboration by Leicester-based artist and Marketing Officer at Attenborough Arts Centre, Lucy Stevens and East Midlands based musicians Rishii Chowdhury (tabla), Waqas Choudhary (bansri – Indian flute) and Eleanor Graff-Baker (violin).

This artist-led collaboration will highlight the decline of birds in the UK, with a particular focus on birds on the Red List that are of highest conservation concern, which accounts for more than one-quarter of the UK species. The concert will explore the songs of endangered bird species, using live music, field recordings and vibrant projections, featuring hand drawn visualisations and prints of birdsong.

Stevens’ art practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment using field recording, digital illustration, drawing and printmaking as a tool to better understand the diversity of bird species and the wider issues of biodiversity.

For this project she has created three video works which showcase a variety of methods for visualising birdsong using printmaking and drawing, including a video showing her drawing the sounds of birdsong in time to the soundtrack, and creating over 200 mono prints and selecting 18 to represent the songs of endangered birds.

The soundtrack composed by Stevens features the songs of 25 birds, gathered using a combination of her own field recordings and those from sound recordist Geoff Sample and Alan Burbidge and Paul Pratley from The Wildlife Sound Recording Society. The soundtrack has been created using only the sounds of birdsong, including the harmonies and the drones, which have been stretched eight thousand times or more to create a completely different sound, some haunting and some mimicking the human voice.

The musicians will respond to the soundtrack of birdsong using a combination of structured verses and improvisation, using a mix of Western classical and traditional with Indian classical and folk music styles. The importance of reconnecting the music with nature is highlighted through the sensitive approach taken by this unique trio, when responding and mimicking the songs using the pitch of the bird’s voice as a key note, to produce an evocative and energetic performance.

Come early and visit the Lucy + Jorge Orta exhibition in the new galleries at Attenborough Arts Centre on until 7.30pm.

Tickets for The Red Species List on Friday 22 April, 8pm can be purchased at Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA or at the website here: bit.ly/1PZq4Ss for £8 (full) / £7 (concession) / £5 (student) or at the Box office: 0116 252 2455.

More information: www.lucystevens.co.uk

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Notes to Editors:

Further details are available from Lucy Stevens at email ls229@le.ac.uk, tel (0116) 223 1525.

About Attenborough Arts Centre

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. With over 18 years of experience, the programme offers courses and workshops, contemporary art, performance and live art, theatre and comedy, live music and jazz, dance, activities for children and families, and more. It is proud to champion emerging talent and disability-led performance companies, supporting those starting their careers. Its outstanding access and inclusive work has been recognised, through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, British Council, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Its audience has grown to 55,000 people over the last year.

Attenborough Arts Centre is part of the University of Leicester’s Division of External Relations. Its new exhibition programme will significantly contribute to the University’s corporate social responsibility, wider public engagement and strategic research goals. It will specifically explore issues of human identity and inter-cultural interactions, promote inter-discipline, attract high-calibre collaborators, and encourage new imaginative approaches that culminate in exhibition projects.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

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