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John Luther Adams

Become Ocean (2013)
Taiga Press (BMI)
Year Composed
42 Minutes

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Programme Note
John Luther Adams Become Ocean (2013)
Over the years my orchestral music has become simpler and more expansive.

Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (1991-95) contains four different musical textures. In the White Silence (1998) has three. For Lou Harrison (2002) reduces this to just two.

In Dark Waves (2007), I finally got to one. When I first heard that piece I began to wonder if I could sustain a similar sound for a longer span of time. The result is Become Ocean, a meditation on the vast, deep and mysterious tides of existence.

The title is borrowed from a mesostic verse that John Cage wrote in honor of Lou Harrison's birthday. Likening Harrison's music to a river in delta, Cage writes:

LiStening to it
we becOme

Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. And as the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean.

John Luther Adams

Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    Seattle Symphony
    Ludovic Morlot
  • 23 FEB 2019
    American Festival
    Detroit, MI
    Jeremy Epp and James Ritchie, timpani; Leonard Slatkin, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24 February - Detroit, MI
  • 18 JAN 2019
    Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Vancouver Symphony
    Otto Tausk, conductor

    Other Dates:
    19 January - Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 31 OCT 2018
    Barbican, London, UK
    London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir
    Robert Ames, conductor
  • 22 APR 2018
    Museum of Natural History, Hall of Ocean Life, New York, NY
    Chelsea Symphony
  • 22 APR 2018
    Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, Jacoby Hall, Jacksonville, FL
    Jacksonville Symphony
    Courtney Lewis, conductor
  • 08 APR 2018
    Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California, US
    Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    Ludovic Morlot, conductor
  • 07 APR 2018
    The Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
    Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
    Yaniv Dinur, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8 April - The Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
  • 29 MAR 2018
    Benaroya Hall, Seattle Symphony, CA
    Seattle Symphony Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    31 March - Benaroya Hall, Seattle Symphony, CA
    7 April - Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA
  • 23 FEB 2018
    Become Ocean Country Premiere
    Grand Auditorium, Lisbon, Portugal
    Gulbenkian Orchestra
    Pedro Neves, conductor
  • 13 JAN 2018
    Leipzig, Germany
    MDR Sinfonieorchester
    Niklas Sivelöv, piano; Kristjan Järvi, conductor
  • 19 MAY 2017
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Tomoko Mukaiyama, piano; Bas Wiegers, conductor
  • 18 MAY 2017
    Become Ocean New York Premiere
    Concerts at One
    St. Paul's Chapel, Trinity Wall Street Church, New York, NY
    Novus NY
    Julian Wachner, conductor
  • 08 APR 2017
    Poughkeepsie, New York, United States of America
    Hudson Valley Philharmonic
    Randall Craig Fleischer, conductor
  • 08 OCT 2016
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States of America
    South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
    Delta David Gier, conductor
  • 07 SEP 2016
    TransArt Festival
    Bolzano, Italy
    Haydn Orchester and conTakt percussion group
    Douglas Perkins, Percussion; Francesco Bossaglia, conductor
  • 18 AUG 2016
    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
    Dalia Stasevska, conductor
  • 16 JUN 2016
    Sónar 2016
    Barcelona, Spain
    Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya
    Brad Lubman, conductor
  • 19 MAY 2016
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Ludovic Morlot, conductor
  • 23 APR 2016
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    Badische Staatskapelle
    Ulrich Ried, conductor
  • 08 APR 2016
    Choreography by Regina van Berkel | Film by Dietmar Janeck
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Codarts Symphony Orchestra
    Renato Dias Penêda, Percussionist; Arne Visser, Tuba; Codarts Dans; Arie van Beek, conductor
  • 06 FEB 2015
    Winnipeg New Music Festival
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
    Canadian Mennonite University Chorus; Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor
  • 22 OCT 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle Symphony
  • 20 JUN 2013
    Become Ocean World Premiere
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle Symphony

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