Falon Mihalic has been invited to create a site-specific work of land art for the Spring 2019 performance of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Falon will work with percussionist Brandon Bell and humanities research fellow Sydney Boyd to create a unique environment for the performance. The work is produced in partnership with the Humanities Research Center Spatial Studies initiative with support from the Mellon Foundation. The performance will take place Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 4pm in the live oak grove near Entrance one on the Rice University campus.
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 is a musician who specializes in new works for percussion. His work focuses on large-scale events that encourage a sense of community and alternative experiences of live music. He has built a reputation as a foremost producer and collaborator of John Luther Adams’ compositions. His productions of Inuksuit in Central Park and the Park Avenue Armory were named Top Ten Performances in 2010 and 2011 by The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY and hailed “one of the most rapturous listening experiences of my life.” Most recently, he premiered of Adams’ Sila at Lincoln Center. He is presently on the percussion faculty at the Boston Conservatory.