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The Cave

Alarm Will Sound, in collaboration with Arts & Faith St. Louis, will present the St. Louis premiere The Cave by Beryl Korot and Steve Reich, on March 11th at 8pm and March 12th at 2pm at the John Burroughs School. Using audio and video from interviews, The Cave explores the connections between the Judaic culture of Israel, the Arab culture of the West Bank, and American culture in New York City, Austin, and Dallas. The work incorporates five videos screens with material gathered and organized by Korot.

The Cave is one of Steve Reich’s most important works. During the course of the documentary-like video opera Reich and Korot investigate the meaning the 4000 year old story of Abraham, his wives Sarah and Hagar, and sons Ishmael and Isaac has for Jews, Muslims, and Americans today. The same five questions are posed in recorded interviews: “Who was Abraham? Who was Sarah? Hagar? Ishmael? and Isaac?”

Alarm Will Sound has a history of collaboration with Steve Reich. The composer called Steve Reich: Tehillim and The Desert Music, their first album, “an absolute knockout.” Alarm Will Sound co-commissioned Radio Rewrite from Steve Reich and gave the United States premiere in Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University in 2013.

In addition to the performances of The Cave, Arts & Faith St. Louis will engage the community in discussions regarding the shared histories of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Arts & Faith will present panel discussions with faith leaders and lead a Interfaith Journey for teens. These activities will endeavor to explore the commonalities between the faiths with the goal of bringing the community together in meaningful conversation.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Alarm Will Sound presents Modernists

Terror is often the first response to unfamiliarity, and some of the boldest forays into the unfamiliar have launched under the banner of Modernism. Listening to new sounds can be akin to watching a horror movie—with ears covered rather than eyes—but given time, what was once disturbing can become intriguing.

Alarm Will Sound ventures into the outer reaches of propriety on Modernists. The album is bookended by tributes to two masterworks of modern recorded sound that have been arranged for the ensemble: “Revolution 9” by The Beatles (arranged by Matt Marks) and “Poème électronique” by Edgard Varèse (arranged by Evan Hause). Each piece is strange and otherworldly in its own way, with a provocative history of upsetting as many, if not more, listeners than they have won over.

The 23-piece band led by Alan Pierson, AWS Artistic Director, also performs work written for the ensemble by Wolfgang Rihm, Charles Wuorinen, AWS pianist John Orfe, and Augusta Read Thomas (whose “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” features vocal performances by Kirsten Sollek and Caleb Burhans).

As the Denver Post has noted, “Alarm Will Sound has grabbed the future of classical music and made it now—merging styles, erasing boundaries, championing experimentation and obviously having fun along the way.” This joyful and adventurous spirit fuels the beating heart of the Modernists album.

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Featured Recording

Ken Ueno’s (X)igágái

This is an excerpt of our world premiere performance.

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Member Spotlight

Michael Harley

Michael Harley

Mike grew up thinking he would be a doctor—his dad, grandpa, and uncles were all involved in biology. He didn’t start taking regular bassoon lessons until he was a sophomore in college, but he quickly realized he was more into music than science. Mike never imagined being in a group like Alarm Will Sound, but he says it’s his most enjoyable playing outlet.

Mike recently earned his DMA from the Eastman School of Music. He currently lives in South Carolina with his wife, Jennifer. It’s rare for musician couples to find jobs in the same city, let alone the same university, but Mike and Jennifer got lucky. They are teaching at the University of South Carolina and just started a flute/bassoon/piano trio along with Steven Aldredge. Mike stays busy with his two girls who seem to admire mom and dad’s musical talent. Ella has taken up the violin and Lucia likes the cello. Maybe a family band in the future?

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