In partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff, City of London Sinfonia (CLS) joins the call to celebrate birdsong in music. In their Absolute Bird spring concert series and wider social programme, CLS explores the wondrous sounds of nature at a time of growing environmental threats.

Featuring diverse artists including vocalist and violinist Alice Zawadzki, recorder player Genevieve Lacey, folksinger Sam Lee, and conductors Jessica Cottis and Sian Edwards, the Absolute Bird series culminates in three concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Southwark Cathedral in May 2019 celebrating 800 years of awe-inspiring music.

The Orchestra’s London series supports the release of the RSPB’s Let Nature Sing recording, a specially created track of pure birdsong highlighting the loss of 40 million wild birds and their calls from our skies. The charity is calling on the public to download, stream and share the single to indicate that they are passionate about nature’s recovery, with the aspiration of entering the Charts. The track, to be released on 26 April, was directed by Sam Lee who performs with CLS on 24 May, and co-composed by Bill Barclay, who is currently touring King of Ghosts with CLS and Soumik Datta following their 2017 recording on Globe Music.

Award-winning folksinger and naturalist Sam Lee says,

“Birdsong has been one of the biggest influences of English song, poetry and literature. The loss of it should concern us all, because it is a signal that all is not well in the world. We should see birdsong as a barometer for the health of the planet, and hence of ourselves.”

Birdsong has long captured composers’ imaginations in orchestral works from Baroque concertos to Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which remains one of the most popular classical works played today. CLS musicians share a core belief that music has the power to transform people across all areas of society, and the themes of the Absolute Bird concert series resonate across the Orchestra’s regular residencies and programmes, including stimulating birdsong-inspired composition through partnerships in hospitals, hospices, specialist day centres, and schools.

CLS Chief Executive Matthew Swann says,

“Birdsong has fascinated artists and musicians since time immemorial. Birds are nature’s music. The warbles, tweets, screeches, trills, crows and whistles have informed our folklore, inspiring travelling troubadours and composers alike. Messiaen spent hours recording birdsong and then meticulously transcribing it. More recently with the wonders of modern technology, Hollis Taylor completely bypasses that process and integrates birdcalls straight into the music. Whether for mindfulness, education, rehabilitation or sheer pleasure, City of London Sinfonia celebrates the joyous sounds of nature in our concert series and more widely in our social programme.”

CLS presents Absolute Bird

Visit the CLS website to read the full press release.

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Absolute Bird is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and by David and Molly Lowell Borthwick, The John S Cohen Foundation, Derek Hill Foundation, John Ellerman Foundation and Kirby Laing Foundation.