The Grey Ghost

Image: Kokako, by Scilla Young

for Piano + Electronics


Commissioned and premiered by Xenia Pestova for Chamber Music New Zealand tour, 2017

The Grey Ghost is a meditation in piano and electronics drawing on the ancient song of the once prolific North Island Kōkako.

The bird’s distinctive call closely resembles that of its possibly extinct South Island cousin, known as ‘The Grey Ghost’, last officially recorded at Mount Aspiring National Park, 1967.

Renewed efforts are currently in place to confirm the presence or extinction of this species.

Using your smartphone, the birdsong soundscape may be streamed by the audience during concert performance.

Download the free SyncSound App (with embedded audio) from iOS Appstore or Google Play, by searching for SyncSound. Once downloaded, follow the downbeat of the pianist to press ‘play’.

Recordings of North Island Kōkako were supplied by the New Zealand Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai.

Thanks to the Conservatorium of Music at The University of Melbourne for supporting this project.

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