The performance of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit takes place on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 4pm in the live oak grove near Entrance One at Rice University. Directed by Doug Perkins, produced by Brandon Bell, with land art installation by Falon Mihalic.
Sponsored by the Rice University Humanities Research Center’s Spatial Humanities Initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The event is co-sponsored by Rice Public Art, the Moody Center, the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences, the English Department Graduate Symposium, and the Shepherd School of Music.
About the work: Hailed as “…the ultimate environmental piece” by The New York Times, Inuksuit is a concert-length (60-70’) work that brings musicians and community members together with the environment. The title refers to the Stonehenge-like markers used by the Inuit and other native peoples to orient themselves in Arctic spaces. Adams structured the rhythmic layers in the score to mimic these stone shapes, but undefined areas of the score also exist that allow individual interpretation of the music that reflects the sense of freedom conveyed in the work.
Scored for between nine and 99 percussionists playing drums, cymbals, gongs, glockenspiels, sirens, and a host of other instruments, the work creates a sonic landscape that surrounds the audience. Performers are widely dispersed and move throughout a large, open area. Audience members are encouraged to move freely around the performance area to discover their own individual listening points. The work is intended to expand our awareness of the never-ending music of the world in which we live, transforming seemingly vacant space into more fully experienced place.
About the composer: John Luther Adams (b. 1953) is one of America’s most-performed living composers. Having spent the majority of his adult life living in Alaska, his work is uniquely imbued with a heightened sense of eco-awareness. His orchestral work, Become Ocean, was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Writing in The New Yorker, critic Alex Ross described John Luther Adams as "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century."
Collaborators and Invited Artists:
Brandon Bell is an arts administrator and percussionist in Houston, Texas. He is director of education and artistic administrator at Da Camera chamber music and jazz, and is an adjunct faculty member at Houston Community College. He is currently writing his dissertation for completion of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. His research and performance interests focus on how music interacts with the natural environment, especially through ecoacoustic music. He has produced the work in five different locations in the last decade.
Falon Mihalic is a landscape architect and land artist working in sculpture, painting, textiles, and site installation. The landscape experience—from the microscopic plant cell to the landforms of regions—inspires her work across multiple media types. She received a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. Her recent public art project, Color Clouds, was produced in partnership with the East End Foundation with support from the City of Houston. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and public spaces in Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Providence, and Boston.
Doug Perkins has been hailed as a “percussion virtuoso” by the New York Times and founded the percussion quartet So Percussion and the Meehan/ Perkins Duo, and performs with ensembles such as Signal and eighth blackbird. He premiered over 100 pieces works and with such composers as David Lang, Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, John Luther Adams, Christian Wolff, and Tristan Perich. His productions of Xenakis’ Persephassa in Central Park Lake, as well as John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit and Sila have taken him to lead performances everywhere from Central Park and the Park Avenue Armory to Land’s End in San Francisco and the top of the Italian Alps.