Symphony of Hawaiian Birds
The Latest Update
Four concerts & In the news
Our four educational concerts were attended by 5000 kids, and for many, it was their first exposure to an orchestra concert. Six new works by 6 composers paired with original animation about endangered Hawaiian birds were performed by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. A hula was performed with the entire audience as well. The news of these concerts was picked up by several local TV stations. The University of Hawaii News also wrote an article and created a nice video about the concert as well, which you can view here. One final performance will take place on Nov. 14 for the general public.
Four more concerts coming up!
We have four more performances coming up! After premiering the Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds (a 6-movement, each composed by different composers) in front of 2500 grade 4-12 students earlier this year on May 7, 2018, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will be performing the same work four more times on the mornings of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2018. This time, we have over 5000 students expected to attend from nearly 60 schools. That’s 5000 students listening to an orchestra (most of them for the first time) of a concert consisting of almost all new music, all while learning about complex environmental issues that surround Hawaiian forest birds and the rich cultural history that they carry on within these islands.
This innovative multidisciplinary project aims to educate young students of Honolulu through both science and music about Hawai‘i’s native bird species and the importance of conservation efforts. The centerpiece of this project is a performance by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra at Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu on May 9, 2017 that will consist of original compositions by Michael Foumai, Daniel Houglum, Takuma Itoh, Jon Magnussen, Thomas Osborne, and Donald Womack, as well as original artwork and animation by local artists to go along with the narration that will teach the audience about the many issues concerning Hawaiian birds.
The new work will cover the entire history of birds on the Hawaiian islands, and will be in a similar format to that of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animal, except with Hawaiian birds. Each composer involved with compose a separate movement that focuses on a different aspect of this story of extinction and survival. This includes: an introduction to Hawaiian birds (a gradual quieting of native species, and a loudening upon introduction of non-native species); pre-European extinct birds; birds important Hawaiian of culture; birds that have gone extinct more recently; birds that can still be saved; and what we can do to protect the remaining species.
In the months leading up to the concert, an interdisciplinary science and music curriculum will prepare the students to know more about both Hawaiian birds and music. A forest bird curriculum and a music curriculum specifically curated for this concert will be disseminated to teachers so that they will be able to teach the material to the students independently.
The concert will bring in approximately 3000 elementary and secondary students of O‘ahu, including a significant number of Title I schools that serve low-income families. For a vast majority of the students, this concert will be their first experience to watch a live orchestra perform. Moreover, once this program is created, we will be able to repeat it in subsequent years.
In addition to the concert with the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra, a multimedia presentation of the newly composed music and the animation will be created and will eventually be on a rotating exhibit at the Bishop Museum at J. Watumull Planetarium, a museum visited by 50,000+ visitors each year.
Lady Dark takes its title from a set of sonnets (sonnets 127–152) by William Shakespeare that are known as The Dark Lady Sonnets. Unlike Shakespeare’s Fair Youth sonnets, the Dark Lady sonnets are much more sexual and passionate. They are so named The Dark Lady because the poems portray a female figure with black hair and shadowy skin. The work is cast into four continuous movements. Each movement explores the myriad of complex emotions of desire, lust and forbidden love that are expressed in Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Jon Magnussen’s work “TWINGE” for soprano, piano and clarinet – 15 songs based on Pulitzer Prize winner Barry Bearakʻs “The Day the Sea Came”, the Nov. 27, 2005 New York Times Magazine cover story which tells the story of six survivors from the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. TWINGE was commissioned by Haven Trio through the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
Start and End Dates
11/01/2017 — 05/09/2018