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Alarm Will Sound to Present Socially-Distanced Live Performances of TEN THOUSAND BIRDS

Alarm Will Sound to Present Socially-Distanced Live Performances of TEN THOUSAND BIRDS

Fresh off the heels of a celebrated quarantine home version of Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams's TEN THOUSAND BIRDS comes Alarm Will Sound's next iteration of this entrancing work.

This August, the 20 members of Alarm Will Sound wventure upstate for two socially-distanced performances of Ten Thousand Birds in front of live audiences. On Friday, August 7 at 4:00 p.m., the New York State premiere of Ten Thousand Birds takes place in the bucolic 107-acre setting of PS21 in the Hudson Valley. On Sunday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m., AWS performs the work in the natural landscape of the Niagara Gorge at Artpark.

Ten Thousand Birds, originally composed for Alarm Will Sound in 2014, 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 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, the source of inspiration is taken from the minutest gesture of a single bird to the cacophony of thousands of birds. Adams writes: "In this music, time is not measured. Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time."

Distance is central to the piece, so it is ideally suited for pandemic circumstances. Alarm Will Sound's 70-minute interpretation, designed by the group's Artistic Director Alan Pierson, follows the cycle of a day, starting with bird songs heard in the morning, afternoon, evening, night, and return to morning. It 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. Pierson says, "It's all these players listening to each other and having dialogue with each other across space in a really spontaneous way. That is like what birds do in the wild."

These performances mark the gradual re-entrance of ensembles to live performance, as well as the careful reopening of live music venues. Open-air theaters are the ideal way to move forward with socially distanced live events. PS21 and Artpark will responsibly manage risk, allowing audiences to enjoy the music safely while incorporating health and safety guidelines from the State and CDC.

Ten Thousand Birds at PS21

2980 Route 66 | Chatham, NY 12037

Alarm Will Sound's performance of Ten Thousand Birds in PS21's unique and newly built open-air pavilion on 100 acres of rolling hills and meadows marks the piece's New York State premiere, and will be PS21's summer highlight. The ensemble will arrive on August 2 for a weeklong residency leading up to the premiere on Friday, August 7 at 4pm (also live-streamed globally).

The previous day, Thursday, August 6 at 6pm, Alarm Will Sound will perform a free community program called "Follow Me Into the Field." Led by Alarm Will Sound musicians, families will take a socially distanced musical tour of the PS21 landscape. Through the voyage, instrumental sounds will comingle with the calls of wildlife, rustling leaves, and human footfalls. As in John Luther Adams's composition, birdsong becomes music, instrumental sounds transmute into natural ones, and the open setting becomes artistic space, where the lines blur between human creativity and natural phenomena. Acclaimed experimental theater and opera director Ashley Tata will be working with Alan Pierson and Alarm Will Sound on this environmental adaptation of Ten Thousand Birds.

PS21's Ten Thousand Birds is also a dedication to the philanthropist and founder of PS21 Judy Grunberg, whose unstinting efforts led to the preservation of the 100 acres of land at PS21 and over 2,000 acres of Columbia County land, two-thirds of which is now designated state forest.

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PS21 (Performance Spaces for the 21st Century), founded in 1999, is is a not-for-profit organization operating in Chatham, NY, just two hours north of New York City. PS21 is committed to presenting innovative performances by leading and emerging artists in its state-of-the-art black-box and open-air pavilion theaters; fostering creativity through residencies and collaborations between performers working across disciplines and genres; serving the community via free and low-cost workshops, performances, and other programming; preserving its more than 100 acres of open spaces, meadows, woodlands, and orchards as an important resource for artists and the community; and extending opportunities for arts engagement to all, regardless of age, economic status, and cultural background.

Ten Thousand Birds at Artpark

450 South 4th Street | Lewiston, NY 14092

Artpark, founded in 1974 as a New York State park and located in Lewiston, New York (part of the Niagara Gorge), has a longstanding legacy of presenting and supporting cutting-edge avant-garde work. On Sunday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m., they will return to their roots in presenting Alarm Will Sound's performance of Ten Thousand Birds as part of their new "Music in the Woods" series. The concert's design will allow audiences and musicians to move around each other at a safe distance, listening from changing perspectives while surrounded by the music. This is a free event. All of Artpark's big shows are cancelled due to COVID-19; Alarm Will Sound's is among the few that they will present this season.

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Artpark is a park and a cultural institution located on the Niagara Gorge, USA. Artpark is a collaboration between the New York State Parks and the cultural nonprofit institution Artpark & Company that produces and presents excellence in the performing and visual arts, and creates unique cultural experiences in a casual, natural setting.

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