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Ten Thousand Birds

Alarm Will Sound inaugurates St. Louis’s Public Media Commons with John Luther Adams’ Ten Thousand Birds

The Latest Update


Posted on March 23, 2017 by Alarm Will Sound

Alarm Will Sound will bring John Luther Adams’ Ten Thousand Birds to the Toledo Museum of Art on April 21 at dusk and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on April 23 at 3pm. 

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TEN THOUSAND BIRDS at the Cleveland Museum of Art on June 25, 2016

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Alarm Will Sound

Join Alarm Will Sound at the Cleveland Museum of Art on June 25th at 3pm to experience our interpretation, designed by Alan Pierson, of Ten Thousand Birds. The performance will follow the cycle of a day, starting with bird songs heard in the morning, then afternoon, evening, night, and return to morning. It will also use space, with performers moving around the atrium of the museum as they play. The audience is encouraged to walk around to experience the music from many perspectives. The performance is free and open to the public. 

Premiere Video: Ten Thousand Birds

Posted on May 2, 2015 by Alarm Will Sound

Exclusive footage from the premiere performance at St. Louis Public Media Commons on October 19, 2014.  

Rehearsals for the premiere

Posted on October 17, 2014 by Alarm Will Sound

Alarm Will Sound rehearsing this week in Studio A at the Nine Network in St. Louis, MO.  We’re looking forward to John Luther Adams’s arrival tomorrow to work with us on preparing Sunday’s premiere performance!

Video by Michael Eastman

Posted on October 12, 2014 by Alarm Will Sound

St. Louis photographer and video artist Michael Eastman will be providing visuals for our premiere performance of John Luther Adams’s 10,000 Birds at the Public Media Commons next week.  Here’s a link to the subtle and haunting work Eastman created for Alarm Will Sound composer Caleb Burhans’s Oh Ye of Little Faith (do you know where your children are?).

The Public Media Commons of St. Louis is Open

Posted on October 7, 2014 by Alarm Will Sound

Alarm Will Sound is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural season of this wonderful new space which opened to the public on September 13, 2014.  We are hard at work on preparing for the upcoming premiere of John Luther Adams’s 10000 Birds at the Public Media Commons on Sunday October 19, 2014.  

Bordered by the Nine Network, St. Louis Public Radio and the Sheldon Concert Hall in the heart of the Grand Center Arts District, the Public Media Commons provides a playground for the mind and the senses. 

The 9,000-square-foot space is flanked by large-screen video walls—two stories high—on two sides. Equipped with the latest audio/visual technology, the space will encourage the community to explore what can be created and experienced in a dynamic cityscape conducive to collaboration and experimentation.

The public will be able to visit the Public Media Commons from morning to night for experiences ranging from large-screen video productions to performances, events, films, and interactive audio/visual adventures that ignite wonder.  



Alarm Will Sound’s October 19, 2014 premiere of John Luther Adams’s Ten Thousand Birds will inaugurate the Public Media Commons, a new public space in downtown St. Louis. The first of an open-ended collection of pieces encompassing a full range of instrumentations—from solos to full orchestra— the piece is based on the songs of birds native to Missouri and the western limit of the eastern hardwood forest, and will fully embrace the orchestral range of colors in the instrumentation of Alarm Will Sound.

In this music, time is not measured. Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time. Each of these pages/places can be performed for an indefinite duration. They can be combined, simultaneously and sequentially, in varied ways. Such freedom will call on the artistic skill and adventurousness for which Alarm Will Sound has been widely recognized.

The technological resources of the Public Media Commons, including advanced video and audio capabilities, will also be brought to bear in the production. Alarm Will Sound’s record of creating innovative, multimedia performing-arts experiences promises a compelling presentation of Adams’s new work.

Also compelling is the connection to the area’s natural history through use of native birdsong. This source of inspiration celebrates the deepening of Alarm Will Sound’s engagement with the St. Louis community.  Now in our second St. Louis Season, we are thrilled to actively grow the audience for new music in the heartland through a work tailor-made for our ensemble and for St. Louis’s natural and cultural history by John Luther Adams.

The premiere will occur during celebrations of St. Louis’s 250th anniversary, further marking its importance on the region’s cultural calendar.  Promoted as part of the city’s STL250 events, the performance will be free and open to the public.  We therefore anticipate a large and diverse audience, broadening our engagement with the greater St. Louis community.

The premiere is presented in partnership with with St. Louis public-radio station KWMU and the Nine Network of Public Media, creators of the Public Media Commons. The performance will be the first example of how the Commons can enhance civic life through art that is shared freely and openly by the public in a revitalized downtown. “This will be the only place in the country where arts, education and public media come together in an interactive outdoor space specifically designed to engage people in the cultural life of the community,” said the Nine Network’s CEO Jack Galmiche.

After the premiere, we anticipate that this new work will become a staple of our repertory.  The flexibility of the score will lend itself well to site-specific adaptation in other communities and performance spaces throughout our national and international touring schedule.


Project Media

Twinned: Alarm Will Sound/Dance Heginbotham
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Features: Alarm Will Sound

Twinned was premiered by AWS and Dance Heginbotham at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 2/20/2014. A shared interest in the electronic music of Varese and Aphex Twin shaped a collaborative performance involving musicians in movement and dancers in music-making. This program demonstrates our mission to create transformative concert experiences through innovative staging and collaborative programming, as well as our capacity for bringing new music to new audiences in high-profile public spaces.

INUKSUIT by John Luther Adams
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Features: John Luther Adams

Performance of INUKSUIT by John Luther Adams at the Park Avenue Armory on 2/20/2011. This demonstrates Adams’s artistic capacity for creating large-scale works that embrace public spaces.

Start and End Dates



St. Louis, Missouri

6 updates
Last update on March 23, 2017

Project Created By

New York, New York
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. With an established reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill, our performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San…

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New York, New York


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