Nuit Blanche, a night of exploring the relationship between music and nature through contemporary repertoire, pioneers in acoustic ecology and performative experiments, presents Alarm Will Sound in four performances of Ten Thousand Birds by John Luther Adams. Performances are free and will begin at 9pm, 11pm, 1am, and 3am.
Ten Thousand Birds is based on the songs of birds that are native to, or migrate through the American northeast and 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.
Ten Thousand Birds has an open, modular structure: each page of music can be combined in varied ways. Our 70-minute interpretation follows the cycle of a day, starting with bird songs heard in the morning, then afternoon, evening, night, and return to morning. It also uses space by moving the performers around the venue as they play, and encouraging the audience to walk around to experience the music from many perspectives.