Missoula Symphony features classic kids book ‘Mountain That Loved a Bird’

A story about a friendship between a mountain and a bird, set to music by an award-winning young composer, is the fitting high-elevation soundtrack to the Missoula Symphony Orchestra’s annual family concert on Saturday.

This year, they’re presenting “The Mountain That Loved A Bird,” a contemporary score from composer Caroline Shaw, based on the popular children’s book by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Eric Carle, of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” fame.

“It’s already a beautiful story, and with the music it really gets deeper,” said Julia Tai, the symphony’s music director.

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She’s happy to bring Shaw’s music, which has been rarely if ever performed here, to Missoula audiences. Her work boasts a contemporary flair without coming across as cold, she said, a mood that you’ll hear in this work, written for children.

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“You identify with it because it’s from our era, you feel like this is a piece from our time … written by a young composer who really has a distinct voice of her own,” she said.

The concert will also feature Benjamin Britten’s “Simple

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