Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds

Music composed by James Ledger & Paul Kelly

Thirteen Ways to Look At Birds


Birds have fascinated poets for centuries, not just for their song and flight but as symbols: of hope, freedom, love, communication, peace, luck good and bad and migration.

And what better way to honour them than by sending songs out into the air? In a new song cycle Australian music legend Paul Kelly and leading Australian composer James Ledger have written 13 new songs and soundscapes inspired by birds, using words from the likes of John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Judith Wright, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gwen Harwood, A.D. Hope and more. Each poem is its own world — delicate and intimate at times, colossal and soaring at others, with all states in between.

‘James Ledger has established an impressive reputation as a symphonic composer.’ The Australian

‘(Paul Kelly’s) voice – sly and warm, laconic and sometimes frail – may be the closest thing we have to a national one.’ The Monthly

Originally commissioned by Adelaide Festival and Perth Festival.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre in arrangement with GWB Entertainment


Composed by James Ledger & Paul Kelly

Piano Anna Goldsworthy
Violin Helen Ayres
Cello Tim Nankervis

Vocals and Acoustic guitar Paul Kelly

Electric guitar and synthesizer
James Ledger

Vocals, Banjo, autoharp,
glockenspiel, percussion and synthesizer
Alice Keath


This production is part of the following series:

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