Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Inuksuit by John Luther Adams in Harlem's Morningside Park Today
Composer John Luther Adams likes to be in his hometown of Fairbanks on summer solstice for the midnight sun game by the Fairbanks Gold Panners, his home team. This year, he is in New York City, for what may be the most important performance yet of his 2009 masterpiece, Inuksuit. As the central work of 2011's Make Music New York series of concerts, sonic installations and associated events, Adams' Inuksuit was performed by 99 percussionists, spread throughout Harlem's Morningside Park, near Columbia University.
Here's his 2009 description of the work, as produced by videographer and photographer Evan Hurd, for The New Yorker:
The work, ideally performed outdoors, has also been performed indoors. Here it is, being performed in February, at the Park Avenue Armory, in its first indoor performance, with 78 musicians. The video, by hpaulmoon, is excellent:
Here's Adams, explaining the work, at an outdoor performance at Furman University in April, 2010:
Today's outdoor performance in NYC was very well attended. It is difficult to adequately take in something like this outdoors, especially when the 99 performers are spread out so fully in the park setting, most playing independently, or resonating with another nearby musician, unless one surrenders oneself to John's concept of deep listening. In that sense, it may be Adams' most interesting and valuable work.
Here's the best video I've found from the Morningside Park performance. Marked "Part 1," it seems to be incomplete:
I can't wait to help John put it together in Southcentral Alaska.
Yesterday was the world premiere of UAF Museum of the North film curator Leonard Kamerling's documentary about John's art, Strange and Sacred Noise, at Columbia University's Miller Theater.
top image - JLA enjoying the introduction to the work today at Morningside Park. He tells me that even though he is missing the Goldpanners' game tonight, "Wednesday night Cindy and I will see the Brooklyn Cyclones game."