‘On the Wing: A Celebration of Birds in Music and Spoken Word’ marries music, song, poetry and expert commentary on birds.

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On the Wing: A Celebration of Birds in Music and Spoken Word, a collaborative music/poetry project that exalts birds as symbols of wonderment, freedom, and beauty, will premiere at Babson College on Tuesday, Feb. 18th at 5:30 pm in the College’s Glavin Family Chapel.

On the Wing  will showcase 12 original songs by Berklee College of Music Professor Andrew List, played by noted pianist George Lopez, Artist-in-Residence at Bowdoin College, and sung by renowned mezzo-soprano Krista River.Interspersed through the song cycle will be poems written and recited by poet and Babson College English Professor Mary Pinard (who also wrote lyrics to the music), and commentary by Wayne Petersen, Mass Audubon’s Director of Important Bird Areas and an expert guide.

The program will conclude with a question-and-answer period between the artists and the audience, moderated by List. On the Wing  will also be performed on Sunday, February 23rd at 2pm in the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover.

On The Wing

Inspired by his love of nature, particularly birdlife, composer and Berklee College of Music Professor Andrew List has created a uniquely collaborative performance piece that marries music, song, poetry, and expert commentary on birds.

“Creating On the Wing  is a fulfillment of a life-long desire to make a special work that celebrates birds and the natural world,” List said. “I draw most of my inspiration as a composer from the outdoors and nature, which have always been a grounding force for my music.”

Ornithologist Petersen, who has traveled the globe on behalf of birdlife, said the performance piece has great potential for connecting people to nature in an original way.

“When Andrew proposed this project, I was immediately intrigued because of our shared love of birds,” Petersen said. “And the way he has reached out to colleagues in the worlds of music and literature to join him in this concert series has re-affirmed for me how nature can inspire artists and build communities.”

Bird poems by Mary Pinard

Of Sparrows

In. Just in. Now out. Off, up,
up. But back in, in, in. Fuss, 
flip, in. Flibbertigibbet, bet, et, et. 
Up, touch, uch, uch. Rill, 
a flit-jittery jib of sparrows— 
song, chipping, tree, house, 
vesper, field, lark?—how to 
tell you all apart?

Seagull, you lull me

Seagull, you lull me. 
Your wide wheeling heals me. 
My heart flies the updrafts with you. 
You carry me over the waves, far out to sea, to see, then back 
and inland, inside too.

You refuse nothing, no one.

Urban muse: you haunt the lonely 
places of our cities, show us how to live with 
what we’ve broken, left behind.

By Barbara Spies Blair,, 781-239-4621 | 02/14/2014 06:00