Photos by Jordan Oscar

Alarm Will Sound performs "Ten Thousand Birds" by John Luther Adams

August 9, 2020 at 6:30PM
Artpark Mainstage Theater Terrace

ENSEMBLE: John Romeri, flute; Hayley Grainger, flute; Christa Robinson, oboe; Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet; Elisabeth Stimpert, clarinets; Michael Harley, bassoon; Laura Weiner, horn; Tim Leopold, trumpet; Hakeem Bilal, trombone; Jeffrey Irving, percussion; Eric Poland, percussion; Matt Smallcomb, percussion; John Orfe, piano, keyboards; Courtney Orlando, violin; Chris Otto, violin; Dana Kelley, viola; Jay Campbell, cello; Logan Coale, bass; Alan Pierson, conductor and Artistic Director

Inspired by birdsong, composer John Luther Adams connects nature and music in subtle yet profound ways. The performance, directed by Alan Pierson, transformed Artpark's open-air setting: as the birdsongs become music, the entire surroundings become a performance space, blurring the lines between human creativity and natural phenomena.

Described by The New York Times as " of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene," Alarm Will Sound (AWS) presented John Luther Adams' Western New York premiere of "Ten Thousand Birds" written especially for AWS. The piece is based on the songs of birds that are native to, or migrate through the area in which the piece is performed. It explores the connections between nature and music, a topic that Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winner John Luther Adams has pursued over the course of his remarkable career and is a common theme in Artpark's programming.

"We've designed this performance so that the musicians and audience can move around each other, always at a safe distance, listening from changing perspectives while surrounded by the music." -- Alan Pierson, Artistic Director, AWS

"One of my greatest hopes for my music is that it may be of use. So I'm thrilled that Alan and the musicians of Alarm Will Sound have found such a creative use for "Ten Thousand Birds." At this difficult moment, it's more important than ever for us to remember our connections with the larger-than-human world, and to celebrate the never-ending music of the miraculous planet that is our one and only home." -- John Luther Adams

View more photos


Watch the full performance:

Go behind-the-scenes with Alarm Will Sound as they prepared for a return to live performance during the pandemic:






This engagement of Alarm Will Sound was made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Music in the Woods 2020 was supported by:



Thomas B. Burrows