Composition, Performance

Classical Guitarist/Composer, Alan Goldspiel, Performs at New Music Weekend


On December 2nd, 2017 Classical Guitarist/Composer, Alan Goldspiel, performed as part of the New Music Weekend at the National Association of Composers (NACUSA), Mid-South Chapter concert at the University of North Georgia.

His performances included a piece by composer, J.L. Alexander, titled Sipsey Sweet as well as Goldspiel’s own composition, Tale of the Bird Mound.

Tale of the Bird Mound was conceived of and written by Goldspiel in 2007 and consists of five movements:

  1. Mound Builders
  2. Atlatl
  3. Poverty Point
  4. Fox Man
  5. Bird Mound

The program notes detail the specifics of the piece:

Ancient civilizations in North America built large earth mounds for reasons which we can only speculate. The people who lived then and the society they created are both a great mystery. One such mound, Poverty Point (Louisiana), is in the shape of a bird, an important symbol based on engravings and other artifacts found there. The engraving called Fox-Man, for example, is thought to represent a horned owl.

Excavated objects of pottery and stone tell us all we know about the lives of these Mound Builders. Stone point artifacts are thought to have been used on the ends of spears which were thrown with the help of an Atlatl, a device held in the hand and hooked to the spear to increase speed and distance. It is fascinating to consider Poverty Point culture and this tale of the Bird Mound celebrates its legacy.


Goldspiel stated: “This music was inspired by a trip to the completely physically underwhelming remains of an ancient mound culture. Intellectually, however, the notion that such a culture existed and what those remains represent was immensely overwhelming. I tried to represent such in the music.”

If you would like to learn more about Poverty Point and the Bird Mound click here for more from the National Park Service.