New music concert features student ensemble

Contact: Cara Barnes
Photo of musical ensemble Birds on a Wire.

Birds on a Wire in concert Feb. 7

KALAMAZOO—Birds on a Wire, Western Michigan University’s new music ensemble, will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Birds on a Wire will premiere "Biodiversity," a composition by WMU professor Christopher Biggs. WMU professor of voice Carl Ratner and pianist Raymond Harvey, music director for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, will premiere American Pierrot: A Langston Hughes Songbook, by composer Robert G. Patterson.


"Biodiversity," a multimedia composition, was created with the support of the A&D Issa Music and Dance Faculty Award, awarded to Biggs by WMU’s College of Fine Arts. The work, which abstractly reflects on biodiversity and human interactions with the environment that support or threaten biodiversity, features live and pre-recorded electronics as well as videos created by four multimedia artist collaborators, including WMU’s Kevin Abbot, featuring choreography by David Curwen, professor of dance.

'American Pierrot'

"American Pierrot: A Langston Hughes Songbook" was written specifically for Ratner, whom Patterson has known since junior high. The two then attended the same high school and undergraduate institution, the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College. "American Pierrot" features 12 poems by Langston Hughes arranged as a song cycle. Patterson will be in attendance at the premiere.

For more information about the concert, contact Meredith Bradford at (269) 387-4678 or