News & Events

Loops & Variations in Chicago

Alarm Will Sound will make its Chicago debut on July 3 in Millennium Park as part of Loops & Variations, a series that highlights contemporary and electronic music. We will perform the music of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Steve Reich, Tyondai Braxton and John Orfe, mixing influences from classical, electronica, rock, renaissance, and even mariachi. This show extends the work captured in our 2005 album Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex Twin, which connects music created digitally on computers to music-making on acoustic instruments. Since then, we have championed live-performance versions of other music written for machines including Poème électronique by Edgard Varèse, Revolution 9 by the Beatles, the player piano works of Conlon Nancarrow, and the music of Ben Frost because of the creativity and fun that happens at the intersections of digital and acoustic technologies, popular and classical genres, and old and new styles.

This performance is free and open to all. The Loops & Variations series was named Best New Music Series by Chicago Magazine.


Highlights from our 2014-2015 Season

Alarm Will Sound is excited to announce just some of the highlights from its upcoming 2014-2015 season!

Two nights of "Nonesuch Records at BAM." In celebration of 50 years of Nonesuch Records's commitment to outstanding, unique artists, AWS will perform an evening of the music of Steve Reich including Radio Rewrite and an evening of the music of John Adams including his seminal Chamber Symphony.

St. Louis Season. For the third year, Alarm Will Sound will present multiple exciting and adventurous concerts in St. Louis including a performance to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the city, the concert world premiere of The Hunger by Donnacha Dennehy, and another collaboration with the students and faculty at the Community Music School of Webster University.

Sacrum+Profanum in Krakow, Poland. Alarm Will Sound will return to Krakow to present a concert of the music of Steve Reich at this incredible festival.

Medeski, Martin and Wood with Alarm Will Sound in Colorado. AWS and MMW will present an evening of daring collaboration and thrilling improvisation in Denver and Boulder.

World premiere of Mind Out Of Matter by Scott Johnson at Peak Performances at Montclair State University. This is a major new evening-length work pairing the sampled voice of philosopher and Darwinian Daniel Dennett with Scott Johnson's music.

If you are moved by adventurous new sounds please take a second to donate to help us continue our mission to play music for the contemporary world.

These are just a few of the exciting projects to look for next season. Keep and eye and ear out for even more!

Our newest album: music of Derek Bermel

Bermel artwork

We have been playing the music of Derek Bermel for several years, returning to it time and again because its eclectic influences are rich and varied. Canzonas Americanas, released on Cantaloupe Music, brings the stylistic variety of his work together in one album, capturing the many musical traditions of North and South America that are part of Derek's—and our—world.

“Derek Bermel synthesizes the diverse musical languages of his time into a unique, thoroughly individual American voice that is tuneful and rich, engaging and sophisticated,” says Alan Pierson, our Artistic Director. “Canzonas Americanas establishes Derek as a composer firmly in an American tradition like Copland, Ives, Gershwin, and Ellington before him.”

We are joined by the remarkable Luciana Souza whose voice evokes a Latin dreamscape in the last movement of the title track. Timothy Jones performs the song collection Natural Selection with theatricality. And Kiera Duffy adds her soprano to the arresting At the End of the World.

Who We Are

Alarm Will Sound is a twenty-member group dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of today's most innovative music.

Featured Recording

Wolfgang Rihm’s Will Sound

Rihm wrote this piece specifically for us—it’s in the title!

Soundcloud logoVisit our Soundcloud for more recordings.

Member Spotlight

Alan Pierson

Alan Pierson

Before being part of the founding of Alarm Will Sound in 2001, Alan Pierson’s creative interests were all over the map: he tried his hands at writing scripts for Star Trek before getting his physics degree at MIT -- where he finished a thesis on planetary dynamics -- after which he started (but never finished) a Masters degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music. His first encounters with contemporary music were at a high school program at Northwestern, where he fell in love with Reich’s Tehillim and experienced a head-scratching but eye-opening evening watching one of Cage’s Europeras with the composer in attendance. It was through his work with his colleagues in Alarm Will Sound that Alan discovered a passion for conducting contemporary music. Since beginning his career with Alarm Will Sound, Alan has also served as Artistic Director and conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Principal Conductor of Ireland’s Crash Ensemble, and visiting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern’s Bieden School of Music. He’s also conducted numerous other ensembles and orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Steve Reich Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta, and the Silk Road Project. But Alarm Will Sound always remains Alan’s artistic home, the group of musicians whom he finds most stimulating, challenging, and inspiring to work with.

Be alarmist

Read articles by our members, get behind-the-scenes reports about our projects, and share your thoughts at Alarmists, our blog.