IF you’re over turkey leftovers by new year, check out a different species of bird at the unique concert Life on Land’s Edge at Government House in Perth.
The sublime playing of The Bowerbird Collective – Simone Slattery on violin, Anthony Albrecht on cello – will accompany stunning footage of migratory birds making their way across several continents and cultures.
It’s the latest project from the Collective, who combine their love of nature with classical music.
“Life on Land’s Edge features footage from across the whole flyway [broad corridors used by migrating birds] including nest scenes from Alaska and Siberia, birds in beautiful breeding plumage in China, Korea and Thailand, flocks departing on their migration from Broome, as well as beautiful intertidal landscapes from right around Australia,” Albrecht says.
“While much of the footage was filmed by the Bowerbird Collective on a number of research residencies, including in Broome last year, we have also had contributions from many leading scientists around the world.
“The footage is focused on migratory shorebirds that visit Australia, and highlights their beauty and fragility.”
The Collective describe themselves as making “art for nature”, but aside from their green credentials, they are world class musicians – Albrecht is from NSW and has a master of music from the world-famous Juilliard School in New York, while Slattery completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide and was a 2019 Churchill Fellow.
They combined their love of nature with music on their 2021 release Songs of Disappearance – Australian Bird Calls and the recent companion album Songs of Disappearance – Australian Frog Calls, with both reaching the top five of the ARIA charts.
Their music has also featured in the Our Country immersive experience, created by Australian Geographic and currently showing at Darling Harbour in Sydney.
“Both Simone and I grew up in families that fostered an awareness and love for nature, and in particular birds,” Albrecht says.
“We cherish the soundscape of Australia and both miss it when overseas. The Bowerbird Collective was founded in 2017 to make art for nature.
“As freelance classical musicians we often lacked an outlet for our passion for the environment, and we are thrilled now to be able to combine music with nature storytelling, and to collaborate with major conservation organisations.”
But while the Collective are big on conservation, their top priority is providing a unique concert experience in a great setting (their Perth show will be held in the stunning ballroom at Government House and they will play on period instruments for added authenticity).
Over the years the pair have performed with the likes of Il Pomo d’Oro, the Australian Haydn Ensemble, Van Diemen’s Band, Pinchgut Opera and the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra.
“While conservation is certainly a motivation for our work, primarily our concerts are designed to give audiences a beautiful experience that will leave them feeling more connected to our planet,” Albrecht says.
The 60-minute Life on Land’s Edge, followed by a Q&A, is at Government House Ballroom on January 28. Tix and more info at bowerbirdcollective.org
by STEPHEN POLLOCK