8 p.m., Williams Center Main Stage

Join the Lafayette College Contemporary Music Ensemble as it collaborates with the Lafayette Art Gallery to observe the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.

The full concert can be heard here.


Avian Requiem is an evening-length semi-theatrical work for chamber ensemble. The work, which includes transcribed bird songs, improvisation, live and pre-recorded electronics, and spoken texts was composed by the members of the ensemble in collaboration with the director of the ensemble, Assistant Professor of Music Kirk O’Riordan. Organized in scenes, the work explores and depicts aspects of avian existence, including flight, captivity, extinction, and the Passenger Pigeon’s genetic code. The concert will feature two special guest performers: Lafayette College President Alison Byerly (flute) and Williams Center Gallery Artist-in-Residence Michael Pestel (flute).


Scene 1: Flock
Birds flock together and begin to migrate.
Scene 2: Flight
Homage to Olivier Messiaen’s Le Merle Noir.
Scene 3: Catalog, Based on Michael Pestel’s “Catalog of Extinct Birds”: Each note is derived from a letter of the Latin name of an extinct bird species.
Scene 4: Species
Lists of extinct species.
Scene 5: Genome
The Passenger Pigeon’s genetic code (provided by Ben Novak)
Scene 6: People
The people are indifferent to the birds’ plight.
Scene 7: Insects
With birds gone, insects thrive and become over-populated.
Scene 8: Extinction


The piece is presented in conjunction with the Lafayette Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Requiem: Ectopistes Migratorius and the Catalog of Extinct Birds by A Michael Pestel. The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.

LCCME specializes in performing the music of established, emerging, and student composers. Membership in the ensemble is by invitation of the director. The ensemble performs two or more concerts each season, each on short rehearsal cycles. In addition, LCCME has premiered seven new student works and performed music by composers such as George Crumb, John Cage, Terry Riley, Arvo Part, Robert Paterson, and Kirk O’Riordan.

Julia Campbell, flutes
Ingrid Rumbaugh, flutes
Stavros Kariofillis, clarinets
Sharon Chen, violin
Joanna Harris, viola
Andrew Goldberg, violoncello
Kayleigh Yerdon, harp
Michael Ryan, percussion
Kirk O’Riordan, director and electronics