Birds on a Wire

courtesy of the artist

Composer David Colson, who founded the new music ensemble Birds On A Wire not long after joining the WMU School of Music in 2007, previewed the group's concert with Cara Lieurance. It's set for  7:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct 30 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. Not only is it "themed" for Halloween, it will feature the world premiere of Colson's Ghost Music, a new piece for solo marimba. Colson talks about writing the pieces for Matthew Coley, a leading solo percussionist and a master of an array of global percussion instruments.

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Birds on a Wire is the WMU School of Music's "Pierrot ensemble" with a core lineup of flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The label comes from a piece by Arnold Schoenberg, "Pierrot Lunaire," which premiered in 1912. Dr. David Colson, who has directed the ensemble for nine years, previews a concert which will take place Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. It features a work for electronic sounds and video, Socavino, by Richard Johnson, who also joins the conversation.

Tonight's Birds On A Wire concert shines a light on just how much modern, avant-garde music is being created around us. Western Michigan University professor of composition/theory David Colson says performing in a modern music ensemble helps students improve their musicianship in a variety of ways. Lisa Coons, professor of composition, describes her new work, Singing Wall, which is performed on a musical sculpture she designed and constructed with Steven Pierce. Cara Lieurance also talks to pianist Lori Sims about the earliest work on the program, "Regard de l’Esprit de joie," from Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944). 

Composer Richard Lavenda has known Western Michigan University music professor David Colson for almost 35 years. They met at Rice University in Texas, where Lavenda had joined the music faculty in the Shepherd School of Music and Colson was pursuing a doctorate in music.