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Mary Thoreson's percussive 'Birdspiration' turns BSU's Bangsberg stage into a morning on the lake

Eric Sundeen and Mary Thoreson.jpg
Eric Sundeen and Mary Thoreson

BSU Percussion Ensemble gives flight to Mary Thoreson's original composition.

BEMIDJI - Mary Thoreson’s original composition Birdspiration will have its world premiere Wednesday evening, April 20, 2022, at the Bemidji State University Percussion Ensemble concert.

Inspired by a chance, serendipitous moment between her and nature, Thoreson translates the language of the bird world she lives among into an organically rhythmic, avant-garde experience involving a flute, a rain stick, marimba, claves, rototoms, timpani, vibraphone, finger cymbals, a piano, a water glass, wind chimes, triangles, and much, much more.

…we have an Eagle's nest…we have owls…loons…woodpeckers and chickadees and all these birds that are tweeting away… the piece has movement in it… some call and response…birds talking back and forth, little movements, big movements, wavy movements like water and things like that…things that are hinting at motions in nature. – Mary Thoreson

Click on the green bubble above to hear about the process of collaboration and creation that resulted in this unique composition, sample the piece, and find out what else will happen Wednesday!

We’d play around with all these different sounds…And then…week by week, we'd just keep talking through it…The Birdspiration piece is going to complement the whole concert…tie it all together. – Eric Sundeen, BSU Faculty and Percussion Ensemble Director

The BSU Percussion Ensemble Concert is Wednesday April 20, 2022 at 7:32pm at the Bangsberg Recital Hall on the Bemidji State University campus. It’s a FREE concert and everyone is welcome.

…it's part of my world. It is my world that I live in. And so I thought, I'd like to write a piece that is inspired by all these sounds… -Mary Thoreson

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. She returned for a second stint in 2016-23. She produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota.