Conductor James Smart and The University of Montana’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform “Winged Messengers” live in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the University Theatre.
The nature-themed performance will feature a piece titled “Chickadee Symphony,” composed by Kalispell’s Craig Naylor, which was inspired by the many vocalizations of the chickadee. A short introductory lecture to the piece will feature authentic chickadee calls, followed by the orchestra’s musical representation of them
“It’s a unique cross-fertilization of science and music,” said UM biology Professor Erick Greene, who specializes in bioacoustics, the study of how animals use sounds to communicate with one another. “Dr. Naylor has taken many different kinds of chickadee sounds and developed very complex and beautiful musical ideas.”
Research published by Greene and his colleagues on chickadee alarm calls inspired the third movement of Naylor’s symphony, “Danger.” Naylor, who began his career in biology but soon found a passion for music, composed the symphony based on hours of research on chickadee biology and vocalizations.
Both Naylor and Greene will be on hand for the performance and will present the lecture before “Chickadee Symphony,” which also will feature a presentation with live great horned and northern pygmy owls – two of the chickadee’s most feared predators – by Kate Davis of Raptors of the Rockies. Greene will discuss the biology and vocal behavior of chickadees, Naylor will talk about the musical aspects of his piece, and Smart will play short snippets from the symphony to help the audience listen for specific chickadee motifs.
Tickets to the performance cost $11 for general admission, $6 for seniors and $5 for students. They’re available at the UMArts Box Office in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center, by calling 406-243-4581 or online at http://www.ummusic.org.