Alarm Will Sound just celebrated our 10th birthday. When we first had the idea to start a large, national ensemble entirely dedicated to new music, we didn’t know if we would last. We knew that there was no group like us in the country, but did that mean there was an opening or was it an unsustainable niche? Sure, there were large new-music groups in cities like New York—and there still are. They’re usually pick-up bands with changing membership depending on which gigging musicians are available locally. What we had in mind, rather, was a band made up of the same twenty or so musicians in every concert and that toured widely. Germany has the Ensemble Modern, France has the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Britain has the London Sinfonietta. We wanted to be that kind of ensemble in the USA.
The reason we’ve made it 10 years has everything to do with the decision that we would not be a pick-up band of constantly changing membership. Working closely and intensely together for so long—really getting to know each other as people and artists—allows us to be adventurous with each other. You’re just more comfortable taking risks in front of an audience with people you know well. And having the same group of people working together at every stage of the process—from developing a concept to performing it on stage—enriches and deepens what we do together.
So although Alarm Will Sound is a large group, it’s each individual that’s made it Alarm Will Sound. We rehearse and rehearse to play as a unit, but our best projects grow from a crazy idea one person has, or an artistic argument between three. We pull together as an ensemble because we’re each pushing individual limits. In 10 years, each of us has moved in different directions yet Alarm Will Sound has made a singular path for new music.
On this blog, we’ll write about the group: upcoming performances, projects under development, organizational news, etc. But we’re most excited about publishing Alarmists because you’ll hear from each of the individuals in the group about what they’re up to. It’s these individuals that will continue to make the next 10 years of Alarm Will Sound as remarkable as the first.