Butler Alum Shines on Mother Falcon’s National Tour

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mother Falcon photo by LeAnne MuellerAs a member of the Austin-based indie-orchestral pop band Mother Falcon, Diana Burgess (B.M. 2015) is happy to hit the road—performing music from the band’s third album. But it’s coming home to teach children at the band’s annual summer camp that truly gets Burgess excited.

“As a band we put on a summer music camp,” said Burgess, a cello player, of the Mother Falcon Music Lab. “It’s like a band camp where students are put into groups and the goal is within the week, they create an original song. We teach students to use their instincts that they already have. It’s about embracing creativity and exploring all the different crazy sounds you can make on your instruments.”

And while the goal is inspiring and encouraging young musicians, Burgess said there is one other point she wants to share: “No matter what instrument you play, you can play in a band. You can get gigs.”

Nick Gregg, also a cellist, had similar goals when he started Mother Falcon as a student at Westlake High School. He wanted to make playing the cello as cool as playing quarterback for the football team.

Burgess joined Mother Falcon while attending Austin’s McCallum High School. Though its numbers have changed over the years, the band’s current makeup is at 15 members—including a handful of other University of Texas alumni.

Now with the release of Good Luck Have Fun—their third album, but first since signing with Universal Music Classics—Mother Falcon is on their longest tour stretch yet.

“Half of the album is a soundtrack from a documentary about the competitive video game StarCraft that we created an original score for. It includes sounds and techniques we hadn’t used before so that was really exciting,” Burgess said.

The tour is a collaboration with cellist Ben Sollee, who is known for his unique chopping style of playing.

“It’s cool to learn from him and ask him questions and watch how he plays,” Burgess said. “It’s definitely more interesting than other tours.”

She credits her time at the Butler School of Music for preparing her for the continued lessons available on the road with Mother Falcon. Burgess said it wasn’t just the technical music education, but also the performance opportunities she had with the Symphony Orchestra and through chamber music that prepared her for this experience.

“I learned how to talk about music in a different way. Just learning about music history and theory and knowledge is really vital to play, even if it is indie pop music,” Burgess said. “It’s very valuable for me.”

In December, Burgess will be in Austin with Mother Falcon, performing an adaptation of Peter and the Wolf with Lionheart Youth Theatre at the Stateside Theater.

Photo by LeAnne Mueller