Synchromy presents the 5th annual Urban Birds, a musical experience for all ages that showcases local birds, live music, and artists of Southern California on May 7th at Pasadena’s Arlington Gardens and May 13th at the Audubon Center at Debs Park.
Exploring themes of nature and migration, this year’s Urban Birds will feature musical improvisation and sound-producing art installations created by Ashton Phillips, Carolyn Chen, Daniel Corral, Kelly Heaton, Cassia Streb, Tim Feeney, and Thadeus Frazier-Reed. As always, this family-friendly event includes live owl and raptor demonstrations by Wild Wings, crafting stations by local artist groups, an instrument “petting zoo,” and hands-on activities for all ages.
Designed and curated by violist/composer Cassia Streb, each installation highlights a different aspect of nature. Composer Daniel Corral is constructing 4-foot tall microtonal steel wind chimes tuned to the frequency of the Earth’s magnetic field (the same frequency used by birds to navigate). Interdisciplinary artist Ashton Phillips will amplify the sounds of the superworm (zophobas atratus), the only creatures known to transform polystyrene (i.e. Styrofoam™)—the ubiquitous, petroleum-based plastic—into biodegradable components. These remarkable, wiggly creatures will be on display in sealed containers placed around the site. Cassia Streb and Thadeus Frazier-Reed, a cross-disciplinary artist and engineer, have designed bird-shaped speakers which will project bird sounds that audience members can modulate. Throughout the event, Synchromy’s musicians will improvise with, respond to, and create new sounds using these installation pieces.
Nestled amongst urban ponds, trails, and gardens, Arlington Gardens and the Audubon Center are two wonderful places for all Angelenos to search for birds and other native wildlife. As part of Synchromy’s project to reach adventurous, new, underrepresented audiences and artists, Urban Birds allows audiences to meet our city’s natural inhabitants, as well as its musical ones.
These concerts made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles and City of Pasadena Departments of Cultural Affairs.