News & Events

Alarm Will Sound is celebrating 15 Years

of making music. Since our founding in 2001, we have remained dedicated to performing, commissioning and recording new music in innovative, provocative and unexpected ways. Your support has been vital to our ongoing pursuit of ground-breaking art. You've been exploring today's music with us all along, and we love sharing our adventures and discoveries with you. Thank you!

To celebrate this important milestone, we are offering a special reward with any donation to Alarm Will Sound of $15 and over: an exclusive download of David Lang's Increase, recorded by AWS, only available to our donors through June 1st.

All contributions of $100 and over will come with a special invitation to a listening party for Increase, hosted by David Lang in New York City, featuring performances by members of Alarm Will Sound and a screening of Max Freeman's and Margaret Singer's film, Zoetrope. Other rewards for giving include an Alarm Will Sound t-shirt with a $30 donation, your choice of Alarm Will Sound cd with a $50 donation, or two cd's with a $75 donation.

Join in the celebration and pledge your support to Alarm Will Sound today!

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.

Preparing for Alarm System and The Hunger

Next up, Alarm Will Sound will present works by Mira Calix, Rashad Becker, Tyondai Braxton, and Medeski, Martin and Wood as a part of Alarm System. Get to the Sheldon in St Louis on May 26 to see multiple world premieres by these artists.

Then, it's off to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a performance of Donnacha Dennehy's The Hunger. Based on the Great Irish Famine, The Hunger is an opera based on a rare first-hand account by Asenath Nicholson, an American so moved by the waves of immigrants arriving in New York that she travelled to Ireland to bear witness. The work also includes video of modern thinkers (Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Branko Milanovic, Mureen Murphy, Megan Vaughan) who voice their ideas about income inequality, food insecurity, and political economics.


Steven Stucky

All of us in Alarm Will Sound have been shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Steven Stucky. Steven was one of our first guest composers at the Mizzou International Composer Festival, where he was a joyful collaborator and role model. Steven has been a good friend to Alarm Will Sound for many years and will be deeply missed. I was moved to see that his final tweet quoted one of my favorite Leonard Bernstein lines, which is also quoted in Alarm Will Sound's 1969 show: "this will be our response to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."

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Featured Recording

Liza White’s Step!

This is our world premiere performance at the Mizzou International Composers Festival in 2011.

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Member Spotlight

Beth Stimpert

Beth Stimpert

Beth found her tribe when she started playing in Musica Nova and Ossia at Eastman with the people who would become the founders of Alarm Will Sound. Between AWS performances, she plays chamber music with cool people in the Mid-Atlantic area, teaches clarinet, chamber music, and music theory at Dickinson College and directs the open-instrumentation Dickinson Improvisation and Collaboration Ensemble (DICE) which explores concepts and materials of music in a collaborative performance context. She holds degrees in performance, music theory, and music education from the Eastman School of Music, Ohio State University and Shenandoah Conservatory.

Be alarmist

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