Inuksuit: Clues for Listening

August 14, 2014

Zeitgeist and Caponi Art Park will team up to bring 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Luther Adams’ major work Inuksuit to the Caponi Art Park Summer Performance Series on August 17. Before you go, Zeitgeist offers some background, insight, and clues for listening to and experiencing the work. 

is a 70-minute musical work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. Adams lived for decades in Alaska, and the seasons and landscape of the arctic infuse his creative work. 

Inuksuit is written for percussionists and is to be experienced outdoors. It’s been performed in forests, urban parks, deserts, and even on a frozen lake. Inspired by large stone statues or markers that are found throughout Northern Canada and Alaska, Inuksuit will use sound (drums, cymbals, sirens, horns, conch shells, and shakers) to explore the topography of Caponi Art Park. In the process, the boundaries between our musical sounds and the sounds of nature are blurred, reminding us that we are children of the land upon which we walk. We are a part of nature just as the birds in the trees, and every bit as dependent on a healthy ecosystem for our survival.

Here are some clues for listening. There is no one way to experience Inuksuit. Musicians will be spread throughout the performance area. Some will be stationary, and others will move throughout the park. As a listener, you can wander the park, or you may choose to listen from just one place. While Inuksuit is a rather meditative piece, you (or your children) do not need to be silent or still. I suggest that you listen to the drummer closest to you, notice the sounds of the ones somewhat near at hand, and expand your awareness to take in the sounds of those Inuksuit drummers far away. Take it from there.

As we finish, performers will step away from their instruments one by one and join the audience. After a time, the last performer will fade out and we will let the sounds of nature take over. Applause will not be necessary. 

About John Luther Adams

Called "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century" (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world. Adams composes for orchestra, chamber ensembles, percussion and electronic media, and his music is recorded on Cold Blue, New World, Mode, Cantaloupe, and New Albion. 

A recipient of the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, Adams has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University "for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries." 

by John Luther Adams

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Caponi Art Park Summer Performance Series
1220 Diffley Road, Eagan, MN 55123

Free, $5 suggested donation to support the Caponi Art Park Summer Performance Series
Photo credit: Michael Bettine 


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