Composer John Luther Adams: leaving Alaska

Posted on: June 18, 2015

In the June 17 issue of the New Yorker, John Luther Adams writes about his recent move to New York City from Alaska after living in a one-room cabin for more than 25 years. “As a young man, I had come north with high ideals and big dreams.… I was drawn to Alaska by the land itself and by my desire, in life and in my art, for certain qualities that this place represents. And, living here for much of my creative life, I came to measure my own work and everything we human animals create against the overwhelming presence of this place.… Eventually, perhaps inevitably, the time came to leave Alaska.… And the vision we’d shared of an ecological utopia in Alaska had faded.… Even sadder to witness was the accelerating reality of climate change in Alaska.… [My wife] Cindy and I sold our house in Alaska and the ten acres around it…. We decided to buy an apartment in New York. It was a small place…. We called it our urban cabin. This was scary, but exciting…. Would I be able to compose in New York? The answer has turned out to be yes.”

Posted June 18, 2015