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Extinct birds : baritone voice with chamber ensemble

by David Holyoake (2013)

Audio Sample

Performance by Ensemble Matisse, Njabulo Madlala, Daniel Bradley from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 49.

Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 49.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 49.

Library shelf no. CD 2589 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

David Holyoake's commission from Ensemble Matisse, Extinct Birds, is a unique chamber creation weaving in the recorded sound of extinct and endangered song birds. The final of the 4 movements introduces voice to deliver the 'apology to the birds' in zulu and english. This work has been performed throughout London and Cambridge and is supported by the Arts Council of England. David hopes to bring it back home to Australia soon.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Baritone, clarinet in B flat, violin, cello, piano, percussion, and live playback of bird song recorded tracks.  Ensembles interested to perform this work together with the recorded extinct bird song tracks indicated in the score should contact the composer by email to receive the audio tracks of the recorded extinct bird song, (at no additional cost) with additional instructions or advice if needed for how we cued the recorded bird sound during live chamber performance. 

Duration: 23 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: I. Fossils to Phoenix -- II. The Birds are Dead -- III. Human Flight -- IV. Apology to the Birds.

Commission note: Commissioned by Ensemble Matisse with funds provided by Arts Council of Great Britain.

First performance: by Ensemble Matisse at Extinct Birds - premiere (Lauderdale House) on 25 Oct 2013

The composer notes the following subjects associated with this work:
Environmental themes, species extinction, conservation.


Resonate article: Extinct Birds and contemporary music as activism: an invitation by David Holyoake


Performances of this work

23 Feb 2014: at Music of Flight and Migration (The Forge (Camden, London)). Featuring Ensemble Matisse.

16 Feb 2014: at Extinct Birds (St Stephen's Church (South Kensington, London)). Featuring Ensemble Matisse.

29 Oct 2013: at Extinct Birds (Fairfields Halls (London)). Featuring Ensemble Matisse, Njabulo Madlala, Daniel Bradley.

25 Oct 2013: at Extinct Birds - premiere (Lauderdale House). Featuring Ensemble Matisse.

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