Friday, October 12
* The start time is approximate. The performance will begin after the Showcase of CMS Composers and Performers II has concluded.
Coordinator: Michael Harley (University of South Carolina)
Perhaps no other composer is so intimately associated with the Pacific Northwest as Pulitzer honoree John Luther Adams. Adams spent the bulk of his compositional career in Alaska and is best-known for music inspired by the natural beauty of the region. The themes, both explicit and implicit, of 10,000 Birds — our connection with the natural world, the relationship of music and nature, the current debate about global warming and our impact on the environment — are directly relevant to the times in which we live as well as city so intimately associated with the beauty of its many parks, waterfront, and the surrounding region.
My life's work began with birds. From songbirdsongs (1974–80), to Inuksuit (2008), to Canticles of the Holy Wind (2013), the songs of birds have engaged my ears and my imagination for more than forty years. Now I’ve embarked on a new, open-ended series of pieces for a full range of instrumentation — from solos to full orchestra — under the collective title Ten Thousand Birds.
All the sounds in this music are specifically notated. However, the moment-to-moment sequence of events is not fixed. There is no master score. In the tradition of Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison's “performance kits”, this folio of unbound pages is an atlas of musical possibilities for performers to use in creating their own unique realizations of the music. The sequence of phrases on the page does not necessarily imply the sequence of events in performance. Musicians are free to choose when and for how long to play each phrase and rest, within the broad guidelines provided. There is no rhythmic coordination between instruments, except where specifically noted.
Each piece in this folio is a self-contained “place” that occupies its own physical space and its own time. The instruments of each piece/place should be relatively near each other, except where otherwise noted. A piece/place may begin as soon as the minimum number of required instruments is present and may continue as long as the minimum number of instruments is present.
Pieces may be combined, simultaneously and sequentially, to create varied performances. A performance should encompass the largest possible physical space. There should be moments when all or most of the available instruments are playing as many different pieces in as many different locations as possible. Conversely, there should be moments when only a single piece is being performed in a single location. Musicians are encouraged to move around and among the listeners and listeners should be free to move around and among the musicians.
The size of the ensemble and the duration of a performance may be tailored to the specific site and occasion. It is not necessary to play all the pieces in this collection. It's not even necessary to play all the musical material within a particular piece. However, symphonic-scale performances with many musicians are encouraged. And even with smaller ensembles, performances are most appropriately staged as complete concert-length events.
There should be moments when all or most of the available instruments are playing as many different pieces in as many different locations as possible. Conversely, there should be moments when only a single piece is being performed in a single location.
The sequence of pieces and locations of instruments may be organized around the songs of birds that sing at different times of day and night.
The materials include a sample sequence of pieces. This is only an example. Performers are encouraged to create their own sequence of pieces/places for the unique conditions of their ensemble, occasion and performance site.
– John Luther Adams
Thursday, October 11
* The start time is approximate. The performance will begin after the Showcase of CMS Composers and Performers I has concluded.
Plan to bring your instrument to Vancouver and join in the fun!
All conference attendees are invited to take part in an open jam session in Fairview V on Thursday, October 11. A pre-organized ensemble will kick off the opening set but all interested
players and singers are invited to join in throughout the evening. Those who wish to simply listen, mingle, and relax are also gladly welcome. A no-host bar will be available.