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July 3, 2013

New multi-media work to premiere at summer music festival

Birds of Paradise, Greek mythology and a piece Mozart called “the best work I have ever written,” will all be featured during the opening night of the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival.

This will mark the 15th year of the music festival, which will kick off at 7:30 p.m. July 7 at the Otesaga Hotel with the concert “Birds of Paradise: Music for the Winds and Piano.” In addition to works by Debussy, Mozart and Poulenc, the evening will feature a multi-media work that pairs a live performance of Robert Sirota’s 2008 composition “Birds of Paradise” with videos and bird calls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds-of-Paradise Project. At a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Ed Scholes, composer Robert Sirota and festival artistic director Linda Chesis will discuss their collaboration. Scholes, an evolutionary biologist, spent eight years and 18 expeditions scientifically documenting all 39 species of the birds-of-paradise family with National Geographic photographer Tim Laman.

“The birds-of-paradise are universally captivating and have been inspiring poets, painters and musicians for centuries. Almost everyone, from scientist to regular citizen, is drawn to them out of a sense of aesthetic wonder similar to what we experience through fine art and music,” Scholes said in a media release.

He added: “The multimedia piece accompanying Sirota’s ‘Birds of Paradise’ is a perfect combination of science, nature and the arts. We’re excited that our spectacular video of these unique birds will be presented with Sirota’s composition at this year’s Cooperstown Summer Music Festival.”

“Imagine watching these extraordinary birds in HD, hearing a composer’s evocation of bird sounds, combined with actual bird calls,” said Chesis, who will perform on opening night with James Roe on oboe, Marianne Gythfeldt on clarinet, Adrian Morejon on bassoon, Zohar Schondorf on French horn, and Pedja Muzijevic and piano.

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