Alarm Will Sound’s “Video Chat Variations” commissions by Monk, Sorey, Lang, others

Posted on: August 6, 2020

The New York City-based ensemble Alarm Will Sound has launched an ongoing virtual series entitled “Video Chat Variations,” through with the ensemble is commissioning and performing works by composers via video chat. The first episode on August 1 featured Meredith Monk’s Anthem. The second episode on September 12 will feature Tyshawn Sorey conducting his own improvisatory composition Autoschediasms. Each composer in the series attends the remote performance and addresses the audience via a Q&A. More episodes are planned for the fall, including commissions by David Lang and emerging voices in experimental classical music. The “Video Chat Variations” project follows Alarm Will Sound Artistic Director Alan Pierson’s seven-minute version of John Luther Adams’s Ten Thousand Birds, produced at home under quarantine. In announcing the series, Alarm Will Sound said that instead of trying to correct the frustrating idiosyncrasies of video chat platforms, it would embrace quirks like delay, latency, jitter, and glitching to “discover their beauty and expressive power … to transform video chat from a stop-gap, content-delivery medium into meaningful artistic material that will capture and therefore outlast the pandemic.”