In 1784, Mozart encountered a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Charmed, he brought the bird home to be his pet. For the next three years, the starling served as the famed composer’s companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.
These days, starlings, a nonnative invasive species, are often reviled. They invade sensitive habitats, outcompete local birds for nest sites and food, and decimate crops. In Mozart’s Starling, birder and naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt explores the unlikely and remarkable bond between one of history’s most beloved composers and one of earth’s most unpopular birds. The intertwined stories of Mozart’s beloved pet and Haupt’s own starling provide an unexpected window into human-animal friendships, music, and the nature of creative inspiration.
Presented by: Seattle Audubon Society, Elliott Bay Book Company, and Town Hall as a part of our Arts & Culture series.
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