World-class cellist Anthony Albrecht is coming back to the Northern Illawarra.
Last year, Anthony received rave reviews for his incredible performance “Bach to Bush’ at Clifton School of Arts. This year he’ll perform ‘Where Song Began’, a musical celebration of Australia’s birds and how they’ve shaped the world.
Anthony is a London-based graduate of the Juilliard School’s historical Performance Program. You can read more about him HERE.
Originally from Newcastle, Anthony says he first saw Clifton School of Arts from a train window on his way South, and it was love at first sight. “As soon as I saw it I thought ‘I have to play there!” he says. “And last year’s show was fantastic. The space is beautiful, the show was sold out, and I saw whales jumping while I performed!”
This year’s concert encourages the audience to think about the connection between birdsong and the history of music.
Anthony will perform alongside Extraordinary violinist Simone Slattery. Together they share a love of nature, and a desire to tell stories with their music. In fact, Anthony credits Simone with the idea for ‘Where Song Began’, which is based on ornithologist Tim Low’s award-winning book of the same name.
“The moment I finished reading Tim Low’s incredible book I knew I had to put the story of Australian songbirds into a performance piece,” she says. ” Like many Australians, I have long admired our native avian friends, and it is their sounds that I miss most when I’m travelling and working overseas.
“I knew I would be far from the first person to ever program a performance around bird song, but I hoped to create a performance that especially highlighted the extraordinary history of songbirds in Australia, using music, visuals and text to tell the story and take people on a journey.
“I was fortunate to be the recipient of the Kevin Taylor Legacy Fund in 2017 in support of the project, and in November last year the premier performance took place in Melbourne. Since then, we have continued to expand and develop the piece into an evocative musical celebration of one of Australia’s oldest and most extraordinary species.”
Anthony says preparing the concert has been a wonderful challenge. “We have combined a selection of music both old and new, pairing some of the many bird-inspired works from the baroque, classical and romantic periods with newer works and our own improvisation.
“We utilise a number of extended instrumental techniques to emulate the sounds of gulls, the piercing call of a Grey Strike Thrush, and a new work commissioned especially for this project creatively emulates the rhythmic song of the Red Wattle Bird. In many moments throughout the performance, we are accompanied by field recordings of several different species, taking the audience into the sound world of a rainforest dawn chorus, and into the heart of a murmurati budgerigars.
And Anthony’s favourite birds? “This is a very hard question to answer,” he says. ” We would like to say that we love all the birds equally, but the truth is that some do hold extra significance. The Superb Lyrebird, for example, considered by some to be “a Shakespeare among birds”, will never cease to amaze with its impressive repertoire. And of course who can look past the gentle warbling of a magpie? Surely this is one of the sweetest sounds Australia has to offer. One of our favourite moments in Where Song Began however is what we call the “chaos of cockatoos”.
Anthony says the audience can expect to be taken on a journey of sights and sounds of Australia’s birds, with the concert also to feature a film of images and movies, along with bird call field recordings from the Cornell Ornithology Lab.
Where Song Began will be performed at Clifton School of Arts. 11am on Sunday May 6.