Skip to content


    2*2*2*2  4*3*3*1 Timpani (4 drums), 1 Perc, Piano/Celeste, Strings [Percussion Requirements:  3 suspended cymbals (high, medium, and low; with bow and mallets), snare drum (brushes and sticks), crotales (with bow and beaters), xylophone, concert bass drum

    Duration: ca. 9 minutes
    Composed: 2010

    Programme Note: Murmuration was commissioned by CBC Radio Music for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Winnipeg New Music Festival.

    It was written between June and October of 2010. It is a single-movement work and lasts roughly 9 minutes.

    The word “murmuration” is the name given to a flock of starlings. A murmuration of starlings (which can number in the thousands) is one of the most intriguing spectacles in nature. Each bird strives to fly as close to his neighbor as possible, instantly copying the changes of speed and direction. This results in the tiniest deviations being magnified and distorted by the surrounding birds, creating a rippling and swirling pattern.

    Murmuration is a representation of the subtle communication that exists between the musicians in the orchestra that results in powerful and meaningful changes of colour and texture. From a quiet and evocative beginning to a robust surge at the end, the musicians model the starling’s ability to maintain cohesion even through chaotic patterns.

    Premiere: First performance by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 4, 2011.

    Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer