Wendy Reid and African Grey Parrot Lulu are co-composers of  AMBIENT BIRD 433, an hour-long interspecies sonic landscape/ambient environment to be performed at the Forum, Frank Ogawa Plaza, featuring the birds and sounds of the plaza with birds Lulu, Shooshoo and humans Wendy Reid, Brenda Hutchinson, Aurora Josephson, Ron Heglin, the MILLS CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE ENSEMBLE and musicians of FROGPOND 433.

Tickets: $10.

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Bird Ensemble (#1):  Lulu, African Grey Parrot; Wendy Reid, violin; Brenda Hutchinson, long tube instrument; Aurora Josephson, voice; Ron Heglin, tuba, voice

Mills Contemporary Performance Ensemble (#2): Rodrigo Barriga, electric bass; Petur Eggertsson, violin; Tony Gennaro, percussion; Lee Hodel, double bass; Jake Parker Scott, saxophone; Mitch Stahlmann, flute; Jess Tambellini, trumpet; Maia Ziaee, voice; Eric Glick Rieman, melodica and Matthew Robidoux, electric guitar. (-Special thanks to Steed Cowart, Director)

FROG POND 433 Ensemble (#3): Kattt Atchley, laptop; Kenneth Atchley, laptop; Nancy Beckman, shakuhachi; Tom Bickley, recorder, electronics; John Bischoff, laptop; Krys Bobrowski, gliss glass; Barbara Golden, suling, jegog; Silvia Matheus, bird whistles; Maggi Payne, flute, recorder, bird whistle; Tim Perkis, laptop; Brian Reinbolt, tweet boxes

AMBIENT BIRD 433 for 3 open ensembles is a ‘bird chaconne’ created from sonic fragments of the bird Lulu* and human composer Wendy Reid,  transcribed into a spatially notated score to be interpreted and performed by musicians in an outside, ambient environment.  The transcriptions are not of ordinary bird songs, but creations of the  ‘bird composer’ inventing sounds from a large collection of environmental influences: music lessons, practice, performance, opera, experimental music, human conversation, appliances, outside birds, etc.

The three performing ensembles, featuring some of the top experimental musicians of the Bay Area, create the ‘continuous variations’ of the bird chaconne. These musicians play an important part in the development of the piece with their interpretation/improvisation of the spatial score and the sound of the birds.

The ensembles are situated at various locations of the Plaza creating a separation in space of the sonic elements and their timely silences.  Equal importance is placed on the silence (being the ambient landscape of the public space) within the context of the sound (bird, musicians). There is interplay among the bird fragments, human performers and urban (ambient) sounds, having relationships, seemingly anarchic at times, yet ultimately inter-connected in nature.

As a part of Reid’s TREE PIECES, an on-going set of musical processes which attempt to reflect nature’s manner of operations, AMBIENT BIRD 433 is contextual in nature, allowing the performers to act according to unpredictable conditions and variables which arise within the musical continuity. In this way, the composition attempts to reflect the inter-connection of all things (including ourselves) in nature. In performance, an attempt is made at a spontaneous unforced and unblocked growing of sound and silence in which emphasis is placed on formation rather than pre-established form, as in the building and shaping of cell-like units in living processes.

If you want to learn more about Wendy Reid and her ongoing series TREE PIECES click here!

*Lulu, an African Grey Parrot and Shooshoo, a Pacific Parrotlet are Reid’s collaborators of 12 years. The parrots are co-composers of the most recent works in that their sounds are integrated into the spatial time-frame scores to interact with the human composition.  

**The title of this work pays homage to John Cage’s silent composition 4’33”

About the Artist

WENDY REID (b. Los Angeles, 1952) received degrees from Mills College (M.A.), the University of Southern California, School of Performing Arts (B.M.), and attended Stanford University, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Between 1975-77, she was a private pupil of Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Les Écoles D’Art Americaines at Fontainbleau. Composers she has studied under include Terry Riley, Robert Ashley, Halsey Stevens, James Hopkins and film composer David Raksin. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including Meet the Composer/California, Meet the Composer/New York, Subito grants, an ASMC grant and the Paul Merrit Henry Prize. Her works have been performed and broadcast throughout the United States, Europe and Asia by the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Kronos Quartet, Other Minds 19 (Charles Amirkhanian), the New Music Works Ensemble, the San Francisco String Quartet, Ruffled Feathers, Brassiosaurus, the Tree Ensemble, and others. Reid is producer of the new music series NEW MUSIC WITH BIRDS, FROGS AND OTHER CREATURES sponsored by the Natural Sciences Department of the Oakland Museum and the San Francisco Art Institute, and currently teaches music composition at Mills College and violin at Holy Names University PMD.

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This performance is made possible by the Fleishhacker Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.