About the album

The Conference of the Birds

Jonathan Sheffer’s The Conference of the Birds is presented on this new release from Navona Records. Two versions of the work are recorded here: the first, with narrator Joyce DiDonato, and the second, without narrator. Performing this work is the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Sheffer.

Enjoy previews via SoundCloud and YouTube.

Depicting 12th-century Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s dramatic narrative, New York-based composer and GRAMMY-nominated conductor Jonathan Sheffer presents his orchestral work The Conference of Birds, commissioned for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, on Navona Records. Attars poem of the same name is a journey of transformation and conviction, in which the birds of the world seek to find an illustrious leader, ultimately ending with new insight into their spiritual identities. The allegory portrays our own doubts, fears, and faults, how we confront these issues, and how we seek to understand identity and our relationships with other humans, the natural world, and what lies beyond. Masterfully performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sheffer himself, the music illustrates several events in the poem: the Hoopoe’s assembly of the birds, with their uncontrolled chatter; the birds individual arguments, revealed in a series of refusals to embark on the spiritual journey; the difficulties of the journey itself; the final arrival at the Simorghs court; and the transcending conclusion to their quest.

Reviews

“The Conference of the Birds” is a delicious naturalistic work composed by Jonathan Sheffer and narrated by the renowned American soprano Joyce DiDonato) . . . The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer and recorded on June 2015, in the Reduta Hall in Olomouc (a theater in 1770) of the Czech Republic, is a very original work, a beautiful story narrated by the great American soprano Joyce DiDonato.

The extraordinary voice of Joyce DiDonato, supply known in the opera world, is at the service of a narrative text. Its expression takes many records that the work gets a dimension quite attractive . . .

Joyce DiDonato explains, with her wonderful voice, we’re like birds around the world in search of a leader that reinforces a new spiritual identity. There are all human fears; the message is clear: we need to think about the world, no doubt, and think about nature (the composer uses a conference of birds), because it can give us many solutions. A highly recommended album!”

Marçal Borotau –  Sonograma

“On the CD there is a pure orchestral version as well as a version with spoken text which remains very close to the musical sequence. And Sheffer could hardly have won a better artist for this role than the mezzosopranist Joyce DiDonato. She has a lot of charisma, can negotiate her voice well and gives the narrative a quality of superb chanting.”

{Auf der CD gibt es eine reine Orchesterfassung sowie eine Fassung mit gesprochenem Text, der sehr nahe am musikalischen Ablauf bleibt. Und Sheffer hätte kaum einen besseren Künstler für diese Rolle gewinnen können als die Mezzosopranistin Joyce DiDonato. Sie hat sehr viel Charisma, kann ihre Stimme gut verhandeln und gibt der Erzählung eine Qualität von superbem Sprechgesang.}

Remy Franck – Pizzicato.lu

Album info

Release date: April 8, 2016
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Studio
Label: Navona
ASIN: B01CUUF4EO

20 hours ago

It was special for us, as well!! https://t.co/CRE1u1r0ix

14 Jul

Can we have a shout-out for brilliance, please? #shoutoutforbrilliance https://t.co/k85WeodIlx

12 Jul

Thank you!!! https://t.co/ROYLl0BESD

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So looking forward to this tonight!!

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📺 Watch "In War & Peace - Harmony though Music” on @arteconcert at 5:30pm London time / 6:30pm CET today. 👉 🔗link in bio. @ilpdo @warner_classics @liceu_opera_barcelona 🕊🎶 #TalkPeace #DoPeace 📷: @brookeshaden

🌈 50 years ago. So much progress. So far to go. While I wish I could be there in person to help ring in this momentous occasion, through music, memories, commitment, and connection we can all actually be united across the miles for this day! Hope everyone on the @metopera float sings out loud and clear for me, reminding us all that it’s not about tolerance, or acceptance - it’s about LOVE and EQUALITY FOR ALL! Pride on, People - PRIDE ON! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 watch the entire clip: 🔗link in bio.

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I arrive (nearly) to the end of this very full season, and it’s good moment to remind each of you reading this that YOU are the reason I travel the world, away from home for months at a time, working towards an unattainable perfection, exposed in ways very few people can imagine, singing the stories of characters searching for enlightenment/redemption/hope/relief/joy, and why I dedicate a large part of my life to this century’s old art form. I do it to entertain you at a minimum, but mostly to offer you comfort, to help us all join in a communal “event” that connects us across time and space despite our perceived differences, and I do it because I truly believe it makes the world a better place. I know you feel this most of the time as well. It’s likely what keeps bringing you back! I hope that after this season, perhaps you feel a bit more inspired to take what you receive as an audience member and activate that sensation in your own life, to bring hope and joy to the world around you. Don’t ever underestimate your power to do that - one doesn’t need the spotlight to bring transformation. #Songplay #Winterreise #Agrippina #Didon ✨

If this girl can do it, you can too!!!!!!! #belikeanant #heavyload #yourenevergivenanythingyoucanthandle #antsruletheworld #summerlovin

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato