- This event has passed.
December 8, 2020 - December 21, 2020| $8 – $20 Get Tickets
A recording of the original livestream performance streaming on CP4U Tuesday, December 8 – Monday, December 21, 2020
Run Time: 60 minutes
Livestream Performance Featuring Alarm Will Sound & EDGE Ensemble
This performance premiered via livestream on YouTube and Facebook on November 19, 2020 at 6PM (EST).
“One of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene” (The New York Times), Alarm Will Sound, joins Shenandoah Conservatory for a virtual residency and livestream performance that revitalizes music-making during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driven by curiosity, Alarm Will Sound has always been willing to lean into experimentation. But now more than ever its versatility and resilience is challenging the status quo and leading the way for the next generation of musicians and composers.
During its week with Shenandoah Conservatory, the ensemble will engage students and the community through workshops, masterclasses and performances; culminating in a digital side-by-side live stream performance featuring Shenandoah Conservatory’s EDGE Ensemble and Alarm Will Sound. Spanning dozens of locations throughout the country, Alarm Will Sound and 30 conservatory students join forces to perform John Luther Adams’ 10,000 Birds. Originally premiered by Alarm Will Sound in 2014 and inspired by “particular birdsongs, captured in minute detail,” Adams’ composition was the first work the ensemble adapted for it’s “at-home” series, when COVID-19 shut down cities across the globe.
About Alarm Will Sound
Led by artistic director and conductor Alan Pierson, the ensemble is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. They have established a reputation for performing demanding music with “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” (The Financial Times).
With classical skill and unlimited curiosity, Alarm Will Sound takes on music from a wide variety of styles. “Stylistically omnivorous and physically versatile” (The Log Journal), their repertoire comes from around the world, and ranges from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. Since its inception, Alarm Will Sound has been associated with composers at the forefront of contemporary music. The group itself includes many composer-performers, which allows for an unusual degree of insight into the creation and performance of new work.
John Luther Adams: Ten Thousand Birds
Designed by Alan Pierson
John Luther Adams, Ten Thousand Birds (60–70 minutes).
Ten Thousand Birds is based on the songs of birds that are native to, or migrate through the American midwest. It explores the connections between nature and music, a topic that John Luther Adams has pursued over the course of his remarkable career. Most recently in Sila: Breath of the World and Become Ocean (for which he won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and Grammy) he has portrayed — in big musical gestures — the awe one experiences in response to nature’s grandeur. In Ten Thousand Birds, on the other hand, the source of inspiration is particular birdsongs, captured in minute detail. Adams writes: “In this music, time is not measured. Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time.”
Ten Thousand Birds has an open, modular structure: each page of music can be combined and ordered in endless ways. Each song is based on a specific sound from the natural world: the song of a bird, the call of a frog, or just the sound of wind. Alarm Will Sound’s hour-long interpretation, designed by Alan Pierson, follows the cycle of a day, starting with sounds heard in the morning, then afternoon, evening, night, and return to morning. Alarm Will Sound premiered Ten Thousand Birds to inaugurate the Public Media Commons in St. Louis, where it was recognized by St. Louis Magazine as one of the best events of 2014.
Alarm Will Sound gratefully acknowledges our individual donors and the following foundations for their support: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, BMI Foundation, Cheswatyr Foundation, Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Pacific Harmony Foundation, New York Community Trust, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Additional Support provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. They have established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. Their performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says that Alarm Will Sound is “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.”
With classical skill and unlimited curiosity, Alarm Will Sound takes on music from a wide variety of styles. Its repertoire ranges from European to American works, from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. Alarm Will Sound has been associated since its inception with composers at the forefront of contemporary music, premiering pieces by John Adams, Steve Reich, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Aaron Jay Kernis, Augusta Read Thomas, Derek Bermel, Benedict Mason, and Wolfgang Rihm, among others. The group itself includes many composer-performers, which allows for an unusual degree of insight into the creation and performance of new work.
Alarm Will Sound is the resident ensemble at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Held each July at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the festival features eight world premieres by early-career composers. During the weeklong festival, these composers work closely with Alarm Will Sound and two established guest composers to perform and record their new work.
Alarm Will Sound may be heard on fourteen recordings, including their most recent, The Hunger; Omnisphere, with jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood; a collaboration with Peabody Award-winning podcast Meet the Composer titled Splitting Adams; and the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite. Their genre-bending, critically acclaimed Acoustica features live-performance arrangements of music by electronica guru Aphex Twin. This unique project taps the diverse talents within the group, from the many composers who made arrangements of the original tracks, to the experimental approaches developed by the performers.
In 2016, Alarm Will Sound in a co-production with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, presented the world premiere of the staged version of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger at the BAM Next Wave Festival and the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Featuring Iarla O’Lionárd (traditional Irish singer) and Katherine Manley (soprano) with direction by Tom Creed, The Hunger is punctuated by video commentary and profound early recordings of traditional Irish folk ballads mined from various archives including those of Alan Lomax.
In 2013/14, Alarm Will Sound served as artists-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. During that season, the ensemble presented four large ensemble performances at the Met, including two site-specific productions staged in museum galleries (Twinned, a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham and I Was Here I Was I, a new theatrical work by Kate Soper and Nigel Maister), as well as several smaller events in collaboration with the Museum’s educational programs.
In 2011, at Carnegie Hall, the group presented 1969, a multimedia event that uses music, images, text and staging to tell the compelling story of great musicians — John Lennon, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Paul McCartney, Luciano Berio, Yoko Ono and Leonard Bernstein — striving for a new music and a new world amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. 1969’s unconventional approach combining music, history, and ideas has been critically praised by the New York Times (“. . . a swirling, heady meditation on the intersection of experimental and commercial spheres, and of social and aesthetic agendas.”)
Alarm Will Sound has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kitchen, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Disney Hall, Kimmel Center, Library of Congress, the Walker Arts Center, Cal Performances, Stanford Lively Arts, Duke Performances, and the Warhol Museum. International tours include the Holland Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Moscow’s Art November, St. Petersburg’s Pro Arte Festival, and the Barbican.
The members of the ensemble have also demonstrated our commitment to the education of young performers and composers through residency performances and activities at the Community Music School of Webster University, Cleveland State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Missouri, Eastman School of Music, Dickinson College, Duke University, the Manhattan School of Music, Harvard University, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Visit www.alarmwillsound.com for more information and to join the mailing list.
Alan Pierson has been praised as “a dynamic conductor and musical visionary” by the New York Times, “a young conductor of monstrous skill” by Newsday, “gifted and electrifying” by the Boston Globe, and “one of the most exciting figures in new music today” by Fanfare. In addition to his work as artistic director of Alarm Will Sound, he is principal conductor of the Dublin-based Crash Ensemble, has served as artistic director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and has guest conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Steve Reich Ensemble, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Silk Road Project, among other ensembles. He is co-director of the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, and has been a visiting faculty conductor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Pierson has collaborated with major composers and performers, including Yo-Yo Ma, Steve Reich, Dawn Upshaw, Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Michael Gordon, La Monte Young, and choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Akram Khan and Elliot Feld. Pierson received bachelor degrees in physics and music from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in conducting from the Eastman School of Music. He has recorded for Nonesuch Records, Cantaloupe Music, Sony Classical and Sweetspot DVD.
Alarm Will Sound
Erin Lesser, piccolo
Christa Robinson, oboe
Bill Kalinkos, clarinets
Elisabeth Stimpert, clarinets
Michael Harley, bassoon
Laura Weiner, horn
Tim Leopold, trumpet
Michael Clayville, trombone
Matt Smallcomb, percussion
John Orfe, piano
Courtney Orlando, violin
Stefan Freund, cello
Miles Brown, bass
Daniel Neumann, Audio Engineer
Alan Pierson, Artistic Director
Peter Ferry, Assistant Artistic Director
Gavin Chuck, Executive Director
Annie Toth, General Manager
Peter Ferry, Assistant Director of Artistic Planning
Jason Varvaro, Production Manager
Chihiro Shibayama, Librarian
Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University
Timothy J. Robblee, Conductor
Jonathan Newman, Director
Dane Frandsen, flute/piccolo
Khepesh Imhotep, flute/piccolo
Lillian Mathews, oboe
Mathuin Smith, oboe
William Aranibar-Vargas, clarinet
Matti Bissen, clarinet
Erin Eady, clarinet
Brenda Herrera, bassoon
Kurt Cox, saxophone
Sean McGinley, saxophone
Ethan Hahn, horn
Tate Hopkins, horn
Briana Gillet, trumpet
Duncan Moore, trumpet
Ryan Doherty, trombone
Mason Duplissie, trombone
Michael Dolese, percussion
Nick Kraemer, percussion
Jake Routhier, percussion
Chance Morris, percussion
Brianna Jaeger, piano
Jasper Smith, violin
Jonathan Toomer, violin
Rachel Zhao, violin
Sara Corrieri, viola
Anita Williams, viola
Alex Corley, cello
Kristian Dillon, cello
Jacob McHugh, bass
Programming & Production Team
Executive Director, Performances & Engagement
Artistic Director, Performing Arts Live
Assistant Director, Performances & Engagement
Production Manager of Music Facilities
Presentation by Gavin Chuck, Executive Director of Alarm Will Sound
Wednesday, November 18 from 12PM to 1PM (EST)
The 20-member new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound has always leaned into experimentation, but more than ever, Executive Director Gavin Chuck is relying on the organization’s innovative spirit to lead them through the change and disruptions of 2020. “A profound impact of the pandemic is uncertainty,” says Chuck, “but instead of merely dealing with it, imagination is a potent way to overcome uncertainty. When nobody knows what’s next, artists can and should imagine what’s next using what is at hand.” During this presentation, learn more about how Chuck, as an artist and administrator, has navigated this change in a way that benefits and strengthens both his organization and the industry at large.
Appropriate for all levels of students from any discipline, particularly those in the performing arts leadership & management (PALM) program or those interested in arts management and leadership.
- Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble and Alarm Will Sound perform “Anthem”
- Tyshawn Sorey & Alarm Will Sound – Video Chat Variations Episode 2
Workshop by Alan Pierson, Artistic Director & Conductor of Alarm Will Sound and AWS Musicians
Wednesday, November 18 from 2PM to 3:30PM (EST)
Alarm Will Sound’s Artistic Director, Alan Pierson, and two ensemble members, Timothy Leopold and Stefan Freund, lead a discussion on the process of arranging electronica music for acoustic instruments. Since the inception of their 2005 ground-breaking album Acoustica, Alarm Will Sound has worked with electronica artists for the past 15 years, arranging these often complex songs into pieces for large ensemble. In this discussion members of Alarm Will Sound will talk about why they do this, what the challenges are, and how their process has evolved. They will also play recorded excerpts and dissect their process for those pieces. Curiosity and questions are encouraged!
Appropriate for all levels of students studying performance, music production & recording technology and composition.
Composition Meet-&-Greet with Alarm Will Sound
Meet-&-Greet Opportunity with Alan Pierson & Alarm Will Sound Members
Friday, November 20 from 11AM to 12PM (EDT)
This event is for current Shenandoah Conservatory compositions students only; it is closed to the general public.