Alarm Will Sound, which conductor Alan Pierson describes as “the orchestra of the 21st century,” will debut two pieces this weekend in St. Louis.
On Friday, the group will perform "Miles Re-Vision" by local composer Peter Martin at a concert at the Sheldon Concert Hall celebrating St. Louis' musical history.
“Concert sort of barely describes what’s happening tonight,” Pierson told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It’s a real extravaganza that involves the entire building. There’ll be things happening for many hours all over the space, and all sorts of different kinds of artists. We’re a piece of the action.”
On Sunday, Alarm Will Sound will move a few feet behind the Sheldon to the Public Media Commons, where the group will present the world premiere of “Ten Thousand Birds,” a commissioned work from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams in a free outdoor concert.
“What John handed us when he finished the piece was basically a pile of music, all of which is based on birdsongs,” Pierson said. “Some of them are solo pieces. Some of them are ensemble pieces. Basically, almost none of it is coordinated, meaning that even when there are ensemble pieces, the players are not necessarily playing together.
“So what we’ve had to do is take this music, take all of this material and craft it into a piece — craft it into something that begins at one time and ends an hourish later and has the players moving around and doing various things and takes the audience on this journey in this space through theses birdsongs.”
“Ten Thousand Birds” also will be accompanied by a video from St. Louis photographer Michael Eastman.
“This piece was interesting to me because I’ve been photographing the forest of this area for awhile — Forest Park,” Eastman said.
“In a sense, the video transforms the space,” said Gavin Chuck, Alarm Will Sound’s managing director. “The piece, ‘Ten Thousand Birds,’ is very much about the environment — it’s about the birds and the air around us. We actually won’t be on the stage. We’ll be spread out around the space, so in a sense we’ll be playing the space. The Public Media Commons becomes an instrument.”
"250 Years of St. Louis Music: American Music at its Best"
- When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, 2014
- Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Ave., St. Louis
- More information
"Ten Thousand Birds"
- When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014
- Where: Public Media Commons, between St. Louis Public Radio and the Nine Network on Olive Street in Grand Center, St. Louis
- More information