NEWS John Luther Adams wins Pulitzer Prize for Music

This article first appeared in Limelight Magazine on the 15th April 2014

John Luther Adams wins Pulitzer Prize for Music

April 15, 2014
Seattle Symphony commission leads to Pulitzer win for Alaskan composer.

Alaskan-based composer John Luther Adams has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his recent commission from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The oceans of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are Adams’ source of inspiration for his 2013 composition, Beneath Ocean, thus continuing his more than 40-year documentation of the natural world through its ‘sonic geography’.

The work received its world premiere on June 30, 2014 by its commissioning orchestra. On the work’s structure, Musical Director Ludovic Morlot said that, “Become Ocean is written for three different orchestras, each of which has their own journey and rhythm. Three times in the piece they meet in that crucial moment, at the peak of their dynamics together. It’s ultimately about you becoming an element of nature yourself, and disappearing in the whole landscape of things.”

On the announcement, Seattle Symphony Executive Director Simon Woods said that the entire company was overjoyed for Adams. “As soon as we premiered [the work], we had the distinct impression that it was special.” He went on to add that Adam’s work “changes the way we write for orchestra” and hints that this could be one of the early masterpieces of this century.

Included on the score is a message from the composer. It reads, “Life on this earth emerged from the sea. As the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans face the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean.”

 

Adams’ Become Ocean will receive its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall, May 6 as part of Spring for Music