John Luther Adams Completes Become Trilogy, Releases Autobiography

Source: John Luther Adams.

On September 18, Cantaloupe Music will release the long-awaited world premiere recording of John Luther Adams’s Become River, in a performance featuring conductor Ludovic Morlot and members of the Seattle Symphony. Become River, composed for chamber ensemble, was the first of Adams’s acclaimed Become trilogy to be completed. In the midst of working on his 2013 orchestral work Become Ocean, Adams was inspired by a conversation with percussionist and conductor Steven Schick: “Steven and I were having dinner together,” Adams recalls, “and I went on at length about the music I’d begun to imagine. ‘So you’re already composing a symphonic ocean,’ Steve said. ‘Maybe for a smaller orchestra you could go ahead and compose that river in delta.’ He had me, and I knew it. Within a week I’d begun work on Become River.”

On September 25, Become River will appear alongside recordings of companion works Become Ocean and Become Desert, assembled for the first time in the Become Trilogy box set. Described by Adams as “a trilogy that I never set out to write,” the pieces are nonetheless thematically linked. Resisting the idea that music should necessarily be a linear narrative progression, the Become trilogy instead attempts to capture a sense of place through sound, space, and sensation. “The titles are not ‘Becoming…’” writes Adams, “they’re ‘Become…’.

On September 22, Farrar, Straus & Giroux will release John Luther Adams’s Silences So Deep, a memoir of the composer’s life in the Alaskan wilderness, and a meditation on making art in a landscape acutely threatened by climate change.