Alarm Will Sound’s Alan Pierson creates video adaptation of John Luther Adams’s “Ten Thousand Birds”

Posted on: June 8, 2020

“Alan Pierson, director and conductor of the New York-based new-music mainstay Alarm Will Sound, recalls clearly the strange silence that fell over his home in Brooklyn” after the pandemic began, writes Michael Andor Brodeur in Sunday’s (6/7) Washington Post. “ ‘Suddenly the air was filled with birdsongs in a way it never was before,’ says Pierson…. That overwhelming quiet … inspired Pierson to dream up a series of digital performances, the first of which is an at-home adaptation of composer John Luther Adams’s ‘Ten Thousand Birds’ … that AWS premiered in 2014. [In] this new realization … on YouTube … Pierson’s … roving handheld camera rushes from room to room, encountering screens (27 of them) scattered throughout his apartment, each running an individual band member’s recorded performance of their assigned birdsong… You can feel Pierson’s longing to push past the walls of his apartment…. Oboist and longtime Alarm Will Sound member Christa Robinson—who has performed the parts of blue jays, woodpeckers and, for this performance, an owl … says, ‘Just as we’re noticing the subtle sounds in our environment, I think we’ll start to notice the sounds of our collective happiness, too,’ she says.”