Alarm Will Sound
About Alarm Will Sound
The chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound has an unusually wide-ranging repertory, extending from modernist experiments to pop-influenced music. The group has given premieres of works by many of the most prominent contemporary composers, and it has often stressed multimedia works exploring the links among music, other artistic genres, and ideas.
Alarm Will Sound was formed in 2001 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York; its 20 members had diverse backgrounds in composition, improvisation, jazz, popular music, early music, and international styles.
The group served as artists-in-residence at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2007, winning a Concert Music Award in 2006 from the licensing organization ASCAP. In 2010, Alarm Will Sound performed the first of several multimedia projects that brought wide recognition: it collaborated with visual group Dirty Projectors on "The Getty Address," based on Abraham Lincoln's Civil War-era Gettysburg Address. The performance was repeated several times, including once at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Also, in 2010, Alarm Will Sound began a long-running residency at the Mizzou International Composers Festival in Columbia, Missouri, which is associated with the University of Missouri School of Music. Other major Alarm Will Sound events have included "1969" (2011), which incorporated music by various figures active during that tumultuous year, such as John Lennon and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and "Ligeti" (2014), a biographical work exploring the composer's work through music, text, and imagery. That year, Alarm Will Sound created "Alarm System," an ongoing project that pairs the group with other artists in collaborative works; these have included the progressive jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. Alarm Will Sound has given world premieres of works by a long list of major contemporary composers, including John Adams, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Augusta Read Thomas.
Beginning as early as 2005, when the group joined electronica act Aphex Twin for the album Acoustica, Alarm Will Sound has recorded albums that reflected their repertory of the time. The group has recorded mostly for the Canteloupe and Nonesuch labels, both oriented toward contemporary music. In 2020, Alarm Will Sound was heard on the Nonesuch album The Hunger, a new opera by composer Donnacha Dennehy. ~ James Manheim