John Luther Adams on his new symphonic creation, “Become Desert”

Posted on: March 5, 2018

“For almost 40 years I lived in Alaska, and I imagined I would spend my entire life there,” writes composer John Luther Adams in Thursday’s (3/1) Slate. “I sometimes said that if I ever left Alaska, it would be for the desert. Now, in my sixth decade, this has happened.… I’ve begun to dream of music that resonates with these extraordinary landscapes. Become Desert [which the Seattle Symphony will premiere on March 29] is a 40-minute symphonic work that completes a trilogy that I didn’t set out to write. In all three of these works, space is a fundamental compositional element…. In Become Ocean, a full symphony orchestra is deployed in three different ensembles separated as widely as possible…. Become River is scored for a smaller orchestra…. This desert space [in Become Desert] is even larger than my musical ocean…. In Become Ocean we’re out on the water…. In Become Desert we are immersed, not in water but in stillness, space, and light….. We swim in the light…. Become Desert is not a musical painting of any particular landscape. This music is, I hope, its own inherently musical landscape… I hope it becomes a private desert of your own.”

Posted March 5, 2018